US Commission on Religious Freedom Hears Testimony From Heritage Expert

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US Commission on Religious Freedom Hears Testimony From Heritage Expert

March 31st, 2021

The U.S. Commission on International Freedom recently called on Heritage expert Olivia Enos to testify about the human rights abuses and genocide facing the Uyghurs in China.

The U.S. Commission on International Freedom recently called on Heritage expert Olivia Enos to testify about the horrific human rights abuses and genocide facing the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in Xinjiang, China.  

The hearing, “A Religious Minority Enslaved: Addressing the Complicity of U.S. Companies in Uyghur Forced Labor,” focused on American businesses and how their Chinese supply chains connect them to the slave labor in Xinjiang. Enos gave the commission testimony on the Chinese Communist Party’s active genocide against the Uyghurs and recommended policies to counter the use of forced labor in Xinjiang.  

Enos advocated that, rather than impose a blanket ban on all products produced in Xinjiang, both government and corporations should take a targeted approach. “There is significant evidence that substantial amounts of goods produced in Xinjiang are tainted by forced labor,” she noted. “However, it is not yet clear that the entire region is devoid of legitimate industry.” 

Her recommendation: Create a “rebuttable presumption ... that all goods produced in political re-education camps and political re-education camp-adjacent facilities are produced with forced labor.” 

Enos also encouraged the government to act on the bipartisan desire to punish China for its horrific treatment of Uighurs. “Combatting human rights violations in China is a bipartisan priority. Combatting human trafficking is a bipartisan priority,” she noted. Supporting U.S. Customs and Border Protection in its efforts to counter forced labor is one way lawmakers can help “take these efforts to the next level, she said. 

This is not the first time lawmakers have used Enos as a resource in crafting U.S. policy toward China. In a January 2021 letter to the State Department, members of the House Armed Services Committee directly referenced Enos’ research to get the State Department to make an official determination of genocide and crimes against humanity enacted by the Chinese Communist Party against the Uyghurs. 

A few days after receiving the letter, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an official statement classifying the actions of the Chinese Communist Party in Xinjiang as genocide.  

To read Enos’ testimony to the U.S. Commission on International Freedom, click here.  

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