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S. 178 (116th): UIGHUR Act of 2019

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 3, 2019.

Uighur Intervention and Global Humanitarian Unified Response Act of 2019 or the UIGHUR Act of 2019

This bill directs the President to impose sanctions and export restrictions related to China's treatment of the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim Turkic ethnic group.

The President shall report to Congress a list of senior Chinese government officials who are engaged in or responsible for serious human rights abuses, including mass incarceration and political indoctrination, against Turkic Muslims in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The President shall impose visa- and property-blocking sanctions on such individuals. The President may waive the imposition of such sanctions on U.S. national interest grounds.

The President shall identify items that provide China with a critical capability to suppress basic human rights, including items that provide capability to (1) conduct surveillance, (2) monitor and restrict an individual's movement, (3) monitor and restrict access to the internet, and (4) identify individuals through facial or voice recognition. The President shall (1) place such items on the Commerce Control List (a list of items subject to export controls); and (2) require authorization for the export, reexport, or transfer of such items to or within China.

The bill terminates certain prohibitions, such as a prohibition against obligating funds for U.S. Trade and Development Agency activities in China, upon a report by the President to Congress that China has taken specified actions, including ending the mass internment of Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang.

The Department of State shall report to Congress on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including an assessment of the number of individuals detained in forced labor camps.