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The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), under Xi Jinping, has building hundreds of “re-eduation centers” that it claims are “vocational training” facilities for Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other minorities. Those who have survived them call them “concentration camps” – locations where they are taken by force to learn Mandarin, renouncing their Muslim faith, memorize communist propaganda songs, and engage in slave labor.
Survivors report the widespread use of torture, including electroshock and sleep deprivation, and, in some cases, killing.
Up to 3 million Muslims and others of inconvenient ethnic or religious identity are believed to be trapped in the camps, according to the U.S. government.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced a bill to address the situation in November and passed it, to be voted on by the full Senate, on Wednesday. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the bill. It received widespread bipartisan support from some of the more hardline members of both parties, according to a press release from Sen. Rubio’s office. Among the sponsors are Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Following the passage of the act in committee, Sen. Rubio said, “It is long overdue to hold Chinese government and Communist Party officials accountable for systemic and egregious human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang,” calling the act an “important step.”
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