Date: March 29, 2021
USCIRF Condemns the Chinese Government’s Sanctions on USCIRF Commissioners
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemns the Chinese government’s sanctions on USCIRF Chair Gayle Manchin and Vice Chair Tony Perkins, imposed in an apparent retaliation for U.S. sanctions on Chinese officials and for USCIRF’s consistent criticism of the Chinese Communist Party government’s atrocities against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang.
“The Chinese government’s baseless sanctions on U.S. and foreign government officials who advocate for human rights and religious freedom in China are an attempt to silence growing international criticism and scrutiny of its genocidal policies against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. This tactic will not work. USCIRF will not be silenced. We will not stop speaking out against the Chinese government’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity,” stated USCIRF Chair Gayle Manchin. “USCIRF thanks U.S. Secretary of State Blinken for condemning China’s sanctions and we support the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts in working with like-minded international partners to seek accountability for its atrocious religious freedom violations.”
“The Chinese Communist Party government’s baseless sanctions are tactics of intimidation revealing the communist regime is trying to save face in the international community, which has denounced their brutal and repressive policies toward their own people,” added USCIRF Vice Chair Tony Perkins. “We call on the international community, especially U.S. allies who share the same fundamental universal values and principles of freedom of religion or belief and the rule of law, to redouble their efforts and unite in standing up to Communist China. In addition to the continued imposition of coordinated sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for specific violations, there should be an impartial international investigation into the atrocities in Xinjiang and the Communist Party’s genocidal campaign, and an international effort to either move or boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics.”
USCIRF has consistently criticized the Chinese government and called on the U.S. government and the international community to hold it accountable for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, including abusive policies against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang. Earlier this month, USCIRF applauded the coordinated sanctions that the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union imposed against Chinese officials under the Global Magnitsky Act. Also this month, USCIRF held a hearing addressing the pressing issue of U.S. companies’ complicity in Uyghur forced labor.
In January 2021, USCIRF applauded the U.S. Department of State for designating China’s treatment of Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as genocide and crimes against humanity. USCIRF had warned in June 2020 that the Chinese government’s repressive population control measures against Uyghur and other Muslims meets the legal criteria for genocide under international law.