The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) issued its 2019 annual report on Jan. 8, highlighting the worsening human rights conditions in China and called for tougher actions against the regime.
The report detailed the Chinese regime’s crackdown against religious groups including Christians, Falun Gong followers, minorities, and labor activists, its expansion of digital surveillance and censorship, and its political influence activities around the world, according to The Washington Post.
The CECC is a committee that is mandated to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China since China was prepared to join WTO back in 2000. With the entry, China was committed to greater political and trade liberalization.
Yet, what is happening 20 years later proves the opposite. Beijing has instead “expanded a costly and elaborate authoritarian system designed to intimidate, censor, and even imprison Chinese citizens for exercising their fundamental human rights,” stated the report.
The agency also cited Minghui.org, the website dedicated to reporting on Falun Gong that at least 69 Falun Gong practitioners died as a result of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and at least 931 Falun Gong practitioners were unlawfully sentenced to prison in 2018, with unknown numbers subject to live organ harvesting.
CECC Co-chairman Sen. Marco Rubio further affirmed that arrested Falun Gong practitioners still face harsh conditions including torture, violence, administration of toxic drugs, and sleep deprivation.
The 2019 report indicated new warnings about the threat of what it called China’s “intensified use of disinformation, propaganda, economic intimidation, and political influence operations,” reported the media.
It, thus, urged U.S. universities and other organizations to place Chinese government influence in American classrooms via student groups and on-campus organizations such as China’s state-funded Confucius Institutes, under close scrutiny.
Based on this report, to be submitted to the president and Congress, the CECC further made several legislative and policy recommendations to Congress, including sanctions on officials involved in human rights persecution.
In particular, the CECC recommended that the United States hold accountable the individual CCP officials who have severely violated human rights such as freedom of belief, by financial sanctions or visa refusal under the Global Magnitsky Act.
The committee called on the administration to build “global alliances” to resist China’s export of surveillance technology and ideology, as well.
The United States and China have reached an agreement on intellectual property, agriculture, forced technology transfer, financial services, and currency, with the signing of the Phase One bilateral trade deal on Jan. 15. Certain additional cybersecurity issues will be addressed in Phase Two, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.