A group of bipartisan lawmakers in the House and Senate plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would condemn China’s treatment of Muslims and punish those responsible for alleged human rights abuses.
The legislation, first reported on by Politico, calls for “an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these communities inside and outside China.”
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) are leading the effort in the Senate, while Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) are backing a similar bill in the House. Both versions have several additional co-sponsors.
The bill would require the State Department, the FBI and other agencies to produce reports on China’s internment and treatment of Muslims in the country, as well as information on who is associated with the country’s internment camps, Politico reported.
U.S. lawmakers have in recent months expressed concerns about China’s treatment of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in the country.
Earlier this month, U.S. chargé d’affaires Mark Cassayre told China to “immediately release the hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of individuals” being detained for their faith.
Canada, Japan, Australia and several other countries all also called on China to end the camps.
A United Nations panel said earlier this year that it had credible reports that as many as 2 million Uighurs were being detained by the Chinese government in re-education camps in western Xinjiang, where they were forced to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party.
A senior Chinese official refuted the report and disputed the reasoning behind the camps.
The prospect of legislation targeting China over alleged human rights abuses comes as the U.S. and Beijing are engaged in an escalating trade dispute. The two countries have hit one another with billions of dollars worth of tariffs, raising concerns about a potential trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The two sides resumed trade talks this week.