by Tom Rogan | November 14, 2018 04:40 PM
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., deserve credit for their new bill to punish China for its grotesque concentration camp incarceration of one million Uighur-ethnic civilians in its northwestern Xinjiang territory.
A Muslim minority, the Uighurs are viewed by President Xi Jinping as impurities against his communist authoritarian dream. And so rather than expand Uighur opportunities alongside China’s extraordinary economic growth over the past three decades, Xi aims to vanquish the Uighur identity. Let us be clear, Xi’s treatment of the Uighurs is ethnic cleansing, China style.
Still, the Rubio-Menendez legislation is crucial because the Uighurs face escalating intimidation under a network of concentration camps. Cloaked under disgustingly disingenuous government propaganda, the camps aim to indoctrinate and pummel the Uighurs into communist adherence. But the camps also represent a broader reality of Xi’s governance. They prove that while Xi offers the world mutual economic benefit and multilateral cooperation, his ultimate interest is a feudal order with China sitting atop all others.
Given that context and the obvious humanitarian interests at stake here, the Trump administration should have taken the lead against the Uighur abuse. But Rubio and Menendez’s bill fills the gap with three considerations of particular merit.
First off, the senators call on President Trump to use legislative authorities granted under the Global Magnitsky Act “to impose targeted sanctions on members of [China], the Chinese Communist Party, and state security apparatus, including Xinjiang Party Secretary Chen Quanguo and other officials credibly alleged to be responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang and elsewhere.” This action is welcome in that it would shame Beijing’s elites, forcing them to accept greater international scrutiny and sanction for what they are doing. Such publicity would be particularly useful in further shaming European governments into reassessing their overt economic submission to China.
The bill also calls for the secretary of Commerce to “review and consider the prohibition on the sale or provision of any United States-made goods or services to any state agent in Xinjiang, and add the Xinjiang branch of the Chinese Communist Party, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau, and the Xinjiang Office of the United Front Work Department, among others … ”
If enacted, this element would make it harder for China to hurt its citizens, while also pressuring unpatriotic American CEOs such as Google’s Sundar Pichai to specifically condemn Google in relation to its despicable support for Chinese tyranny. The bill also proposes “a voluntary database” that would allow American residents to “provide details about missing family members” in China. This would facilitate accelerated asylum claims while again shaming Beijing over its activities.
Ultimately, however, the bill’s primary benefit is its American leadership against China’s brutality. As it nobly proclaims, “the purpose of this Act is to direct United States resources to address gross violations of universally recognized human rights … ” That moral leadership sits perfectly alongside America’s familiar but new cold war. It’s a cold war in which America must prevail if we are to preserve moral international order in the 21st century.