Gardner Blasts China’s Human Rights Abuses at SFRC Hearing with Deputy Secretary of State

Urges Full Implementation of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act to Counter China’s Malign Behavior

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, blasted the Chinese Communist Party for its frequent human rights abuses, particularly against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. At a hearing held by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gardner discussed with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun how his bipartisan Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, signed into law in 2018, is being implemented to thwart malicious Chinese actions and stand up for human rights around the world. Today, Gardner also introduced the Strengthening Trade, Regional Alliances, Technology, Economic, and Geopolitical Initiatives Concerning China (STRATEGIC) Act with U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will enhance U.S. policy toward China, reinvest in our national competitiveness, and advance American values of human rights and freedom in the Indo-Pacific.


NOTE: Click here or the picture above to download Senator Gardner’s remarks.

“Within China’s borders, the mass concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region should shock the conscience and necessitate a response from the U.S. and the international community,” said Senator Gardner. “The Administration and Congress must be united on implementing a long-term strategy envisioned by my Asia Reassurance Initiative Act that will counter China’s malign behavior by strengthening our alliances, enhancing our economic partnerships, and projecting American values of respect for human rights and freedom in the Indo-Pacific Region.”

At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s hearing titled, “Advancing Effective U.S. Competition With China: Objectives, Priorities, and Next Steps,” Gardner discussed with Deputy Secretary Biegun how his legislative efforts can be used to thwart China’s malign actions and protect American values in the Indo-Pacific. The full hearing can be viewed here.

Gardner’s Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, signed into law in December 2018, authorizes funding to promote democracy, human rights, and rule of law in the People’s Republic of China and supports sanctions designations against any entity or individual that violates human rights or religious freedoms or engages in censorship activities.

In June 2020, the President signed into law the Gardner-backed Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, which included Gardner-authored language calling for sanctions against Chinese officials.

In December 2018, Gardner held a hearing in his subcommittee specifically focused on China’s human rights abuses, including hearing testimony from one of the top Uighur community leaders. The hearing was the first public instance where the U.S. Department of State publicly revealed that over two million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being detained in modern-day concentration camps in Xinjiang. Also in December 2018, Gardner condemned China’s human rights abuses in a personal meeting with China’s Ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai.  


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.