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senate Bill S. 2386

Should Companies Aiding China’s Surveillance & Persecution of Uyghurs in Xinjiang be Sanctioned?

Argument in favor

Technology companies that enable human rights abuses in Xinjiang should be sanctioned. It’s unconscionable that some U.S. technology companies and investors have put profits over people by continuing to sell technology to the Chinese government. Even if companies didn’t know the nefarious uses of their technologies when they first sold them to the Chinese government, they do now — and should be sanctioned if they continue selling their technologies to the Chinese government knowing how they’re used.

Ayush's Opinion
···
10/09/2019
Yes, it’s an incredible human rights issue in China. For those who oppose this bill just because Ted Cruz sponsored it, I oppose Cruz just as much as you do. However, this isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a human rights issue, and it’s necessary for the United States to take action.
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Matt's Opinion
···
10/09/2019
What is happening to the Uighurs in China is basically genocide. We need to condemn whats going on.
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Gopin2020's Opinion
···
10/10/2019
Absolutely without question, some US companies are giving aid and comfort to the communist Chinese who will never be a democracy, while Taiwan is being oppressed. Even the NBA is cowering to those communist dogs. They should and must be sanctioned. W. Bush said it best either your with us or your with the terrorist; in this case it’s communist, too me there the same. #MAGA
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Argument opposed

It’s not clear that the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang constitute human rights abuses. Governments are well within their rights to use surveillance tools and other technologies to ensure their citizens’ safety and ensure public law and order. Companies shouldn’t be punished for selling their products to willing buyers, and shouldn’t be held liable for how their technologies are used (or abused) by buyers.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
10/09/2019
My support for Ted Cruz is less than zero. Nothing he dose is trustworthy and it hasn’t been ever. Is his mouth open? He is lying.
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Robert (steve)'s Opinion
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10/09/2019
I’m not sure why Ted Cruz is concerned about human rights in China when he has no concern about the human rights of people that are being detained at our border in detention camps.
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jimK's Opinion
···
10/10/2019
This has been an issue for years and the only reason that Cruz is pushing it now is to provide leverage in upcoming trade talks with China. None of the Republicans have had much concern for the inhumane treatment of China’s own people. I do support making diplomatic efforts with China to address these issues and even limiting technology available to them- but not as leverage to force concessions in the trade wars. The more the US endorses such underhanded tactics, fairness in trade negotiation and other negotiations goes away- and we lose any claim of taking the moral high-ground. Yes, China has abused its trading practices and has stolen a great deal of intellectual property. Lets call those issues out and deal with China as the economic power that they have become. Diplomacy and negotiation are keys to resolving these issues in a win-win manner. Playing legislative tricks only encourages more of the same and makes both of our countries losers in the long term. Sledgehammer, ‘my way or no way’ diplomacy is asinine and damaging to all involved.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
    IntroducedJuly 31st, 2019

What is Senate Bill S. 2386?

This bill — the TIANANMEN Act of 2019 — would impose sanctions on foreign companies that facilitate the Chinese government’s surveillance of people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. It would require the president to make a determination as to whether certain entities (listed below) should be sanctioned, and submit each determination to the appropriate congressional committees for a decision. Sanctioned companies would face export controls and have property transfers blocked.

The entities that the President would be required to consider for sanctions are: 

  • Beijing Wanlihong Technology Co., Ltd.
  • China Communications Services Co., Ltd.
  • China Electronics Technology Group Corporation.
  • CloudWalk Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Dahua Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Hebei Far East Communication System Engineering Co., Ltd.
  • iFlyTek Co., Ltd.
  • Megvii Technology Ltd.
  • SenseTime.
  • Shanghai Yitu Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Co., Ltd.

This bill would also require the President to submit a list of U.S. companies that conduct a transaction with or transfer goods to any foreign companies under sanctions to the appropriate Congressional committees on a regular basis (at least every 180 days). If a U.S. company were to do business with any companies subject to sanctions under this bill, they would have to report the business to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

Finally, this bill would specify that the Secretary of Commerce may not remove Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates from the entity list until the President certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that Huawei has met two conditions: first, that it’s not involved in any activities contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, and two, that it doesn’t conduct or facilitate surveillance in Xinjiang.

Impact

U.S. technology companies; Chinese technology companies; Chinese government; Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR); and technology companies that enable Chinese surveillance of Uyghur minorities and others in Xinjiang.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 2386

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced this bill to keep U.S. technology from becoming part of the Chinese state surveillance apparatus. In June 5, 2019, remarks at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, “Rule by Fear: 30 Years After Tiananmen Square,” Sen. Cruz said

“Let's start by addressing an uncomfortable reality here at home: the role of U.S. technology in China's oppression of its people… Human Rights Watch recently released a report where [it] reverse-engineered a Chinese censorship app for smart phones. This app, called the ‘Integrated Joint Operations Platform,' is a primary tool of mass surveillance in Xinjiang. In this report, [Human Rights Watch references] U.S.-based companies that contribute to the censorship apparatus in Xinjiang. This week I plan to introduce legislation, the ‘TIANANMEN Act of 2019,' to restrict China's access to such technology.”

On March 4, 2019, members of Congress led by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Trump administration to take strong measures in response to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang. In their letter, they wrote that “of particular concern are reports of U.S. companies that may be contributing to Beijing’s persecution of Uyghurs through their support or commercial ties to Hikvision and Dahua—two Chinese tech giants that have profited from the surge of security spending in Xinjiang.” Both Hikvision and Dahua are on the list of companies that this bill directs the President to assess for possible sanctions.

Since 2016, Hikvision and Dahua have collectively been awarded $1.2 billion in surveillance project contracts with Xinjiang. Two of Hikvision’s projects were advanced camera systems for detention camps and mosques. In sum, Hikvision’s and Dahua’s contracts illustrate how closely intertwined Chinese tech companies and the Chinese surveillance state are, since these companies provide the technology that allows the government to repress its people.

However, as of now, U.S. companies continue to hold investments in Hikvision. This seems to be because many investors are ignoring Xinjiang’s detention camps owing to the surveillance industry’s profitability in China. Moreover, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CIS) observes, the ties between U.S. companies and the Chinese surveillance state go beyond financial investment in Hikvision. In fact, U.S. firms are “lending expertise, reputational credibility, and technology to Chinese surveillance companies, and the exact details of these collaborations are not often transparent.”

On April 3, 2019, members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin urging the Commerce Dept. to expand its “Entity List” to include entities that have provided technology, training, or equipment to Xinjiang officials as part of mass detentions and surveillance systems. In the letter, the lawmakers argued that this is needed to ensure that U.S. companies aren’t assisting in the policing systems used in Xinjiang.

In May 2019, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration was considering imposing limits on Hikvision’s ability to buy American technology. Around the same time, Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, reported that the U.S. was considering cutting off American technology sales to as many as five Chinese companies over concerns about their roles in helping Beijing repress the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. However, as of early October 2019, a final decision on those limits has yet to be made.

This legislation has one cosponsor, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).


Of NoteThe Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China is home to several ethnic minority groups. The largest amongst these groups is the Muslim Uyghurs (alternatively Uighurs). In recent years, tensions have been high in Xinjiang because the Chinese government blames Islamist militants and separatists for conflicts in the region. Meanwhile, human rights groups claim that the Chinese government’s repression of religious freedom and enforcement of unfair ethnic policies are to blame for the region’s unrest. 

As part of its campaign against what it considers to be the rising threat of terrorism and separatism in Xinjiang, the Chinese government passed a law banning a wide range of activities deemed “manifestations” of extremism in March 2017. This campaign has been made possible by mass surveillance and security through advanced technology. 

To wit, security and surveillance spending in Xinjiang nearly doubled in 2017, and the region’s security costs have increased 10 times over the past decade, outpacing the growth rate in the rest of China. In a November 5, 2018 report, the Jamestown Foundation reported that security-related construction spending in Xinjiang rose nearly 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) in 2017 — a 213% increase. The Jamestown Foundation report’s author, Adrian Zenz, an anthropologist at the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany, said

“Xinjiang’s budget figures do not reflect increased spending on vocational education…as the region ramped up camp construction; nor do they reflect an increase in criminal cases handled by courts and prosecutors. Rather, they reflect patterns of spending consistent with the construction and operation of highly secure political re-education camps designed to imprison hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs with minimal due process.”

When New York Times journalists visited Kashgar, they documented surveillance cameras and security checkpoints at every corner, including inside mosques. They also noted that Chinese authorities confiscated cell phones to ensure that people had downloaded a compulsory software to monitor calls and text messages.

In March 2019, an independent researcher claimed that up to 1.5 million Uyghurs and other Muslims have been held in “reeeducation” centers in Xinjiang. The researcher called the detentions an “attempt to eradicate independent and free expressions of the distinct ethnic and religious identities in Xinjiang.” 

While it initially denied the camps’ existence, the Chinese government eventually began referring to them as “vocational education and training programs” in October 2018. In March 2019, it officially named them “vocational training centers.” Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang government, dismissed reports that the centers are concentration camps or reeducation camps, claiming that they’re like boarding schools where students live and eat for free.

However, U.N. officials, human rights organizations, and independent journalists report that Chinese authorities have extralegally sent people to detention facilities. There, they say, they’re subject to forced communist indoctrination, renunciation of their faith, mistreatment, and even torture. In a video from Chinese state television showing a class of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang facilities, journalists and human rights activists pointed out surveillance cameras and microphones as evidence that the technology used to monitor people in cities is also present in the reeducation centers.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / 400tmax)

AKA

Targeting Invasive Autocratic Networks, And Necessary Mandatory Export Notifications Act of 2019

Official Title

A bill to impose sanctions with respect to surveillance in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China, and for other purposes.

    Yes, it’s an incredible human rights issue in China. For those who oppose this bill just because Ted Cruz sponsored it, I oppose Cruz just as much as you do. However, this isn’t a partisan issue, it’s a human rights issue, and it’s necessary for the United States to take action.
    Like (49)
    Follow
    Share
    My support for Ted Cruz is less than zero. Nothing he dose is trustworthy and it hasn’t been ever. Is his mouth open? He is lying.
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    I’m not sure why Ted Cruz is concerned about human rights in China when he has no concern about the human rights of people that are being detained at our border in detention camps.
    Like (25)
    Follow
    Share
    This has been an issue for years and the only reason that Cruz is pushing it now is to provide leverage in upcoming trade talks with China. None of the Republicans have had much concern for the inhumane treatment of China’s own people. I do support making diplomatic efforts with China to address these issues and even limiting technology available to them- but not as leverage to force concessions in the trade wars. The more the US endorses such underhanded tactics, fairness in trade negotiation and other negotiations goes away- and we lose any claim of taking the moral high-ground. Yes, China has abused its trading practices and has stolen a great deal of intellectual property. Lets call those issues out and deal with China as the economic power that they have become. Diplomacy and negotiation are keys to resolving these issues in a win-win manner. Playing legislative tricks only encourages more of the same and makes both of our countries losers in the long term. Sledgehammer, ‘my way or no way’ diplomacy is asinine and damaging to all involved.
    Like (22)
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    Is ted Cruz on some kind of propaganda mission?
    Like (21)
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    What is happening to the Uighurs in China is basically genocide. We need to condemn whats going on.
    Like (20)
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    I support absolutely NOTHING that Ted Cruz proposes. He doesn’t even care about his constituents here in Texas, how much less does he care about the people of China?
    Like (12)
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    This is a scam to try to prop up POTUS. Fuck you cruz - we see through your bullshit. Introduce a bill that will ACTUALLY help us by propping up the powers of CONGRESS, not the Criminal in Chief.
    Like (11)
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    Nay, it would be unacceptable/unethical for us to currently engage in any foreign policy associated with China in light of Trump’s repeated request to have China investigate his political opponents.
    Like (9)
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    Absolutely without question, some US companies are giving aid and comfort to the communist Chinese who will never be a democracy, while Taiwan is being oppressed. Even the NBA is cowering to those communist dogs. They should and must be sanctioned. W. Bush said it best either your with us or your with the terrorist; in this case it’s communist, too me there the same. #MAGA
    Like (9)
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    WHEN THE US STOPS PERSECUTING PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT HERE. THEN WE CAN BEGIN TO OUSH OTHER COUNTRIES TO DO THE SAME. THE FACT THAT THIS WAS INSTITUTED BY TED CRUZ IS QUESTIONABLE BY ITS. REFUSES TO ALLOW ASYLUM SEEKERS IN OUR COUNTRY/SUPPORT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE, DEMAND EQUAL PAY/TO SUPPORT THE LGBTQ 🏳️‍🌈 COMMUNITY! HELL NO! LEAVE EM ALONE!!
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    Colossal human rights violation
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    Rafael Cruz, you don’t do anything that doesn’t serve your best interest. I say no.
    Like (8)
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    China is a horrid country pretending a veneer Of decency. They treat their own with hate and disrespect. They should be treated on a par with North Korea.
    Like (7)
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    This again is a job for the intelligence community. Not the Congress , not the Senate, and certainly not the President. Mr. Trump already caused another conflict on the Syrian border. We need real information and then develop real solutions.
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    If we truly stand for liberty and the freedom of religion (like we say we do), then yes, we must act to protect the Uighurs in China, who are facing detention, torture, and possibly worse as China continues to round them up in "re-education camps". This is an abomination of human rights and must be condemned. I am comfortable with sanctioning companies and China itself over these practices. If we allow this to continue we are no better than when we turned a blind eye to the beginnings of the Holocaust.
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    The government officials and even the business leaders are selling the country and the american people down the river for profit it is a real sad state of affairs. WIN Win winning 2020 KAG
    Like (6)
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    The only thing that really bothers cruel despots is dwindling coffers. Despite America's desire to accumulate more money, we should be leading with our collective conscience, Donald Trump and all of his selfish little sycophants notwithstanding. Let us never help China engage in human rights abuses.
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    How about companies that do business with Turkey as they go after Kurds?
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    Are you guys really choosing to oppose this bill just because Cruz sponsored it? This a human rights crisis people, not a partisan issue.
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