House Passes Rep Malinowski’s Provision Barring Exports to China that Can be Used to Violate Human Rights

July 21, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, DC) Today, the House passed Representative Malinowski’s bipartisan amendment to the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting American companies from exporting products and services to China that could be used to commit human rights abuses, including against China’s Uyghur minority. As the Chinese government continues to imprison over a million Uyghurs in concentration camps, while subjecting its people to increasingly sophisticated surveillance, the amendment will ensure that American companies are not complicit in Chinese repression.

The amendment will require the US government to: 

  • Establish a list of items that could be used by the Chinese government to suppress human rights, including through surveillance of communications, tracking individuals’ location, restricting access to the internet, facial recognition, biometrics, detention of dissidents and forced labor in manufacturing.
  • Require American companies to request a license to export any of those items to China—and deny those requests except in rare circumstances.
  • Work with like-minded allies to coordinate our regulation of exports to China of those items and services.

In recent years, a number of U.S. companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Thermo Fisher, and Hewlett Packard, as well as several American universities, have exported goods and services to Chinese security agencies or to Chinese companies involved in domestic surveillance.  The House approved a provision restricting this practice in December 2019 as part of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, but it was removed by the Senate before that bill was signed by the President.

The amendment was submitted with bipartisan support from Representatives Sherman, Curtis, Gallego, Wagner, Omar, Yoho, Yvette Clarke, Gallagher, Andy Levin, Crenshaw, Castro, Cohen, Connolly, Deutch, Waltz, Dingell, and Cicilline.

“When we see a government loading people onto trains to take them to concentration camps simply because of who they are, we have a moral obligation not just to say something, but to do something. Today, the House sent a clear, bipartisan message that no American company may be an accessory to genocide,” said Representative Malinowski (D-NJ).

“This sends a clear message that U.S. technology should not be used to further one of the most egregious human rights abuses of our time,” said Representative Brad Sherman (D-CA). “Thanks to Rep. Malinowski for putting forward this important amendment.”

“This bipartisan amendment will help the United States protect the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China. It is vital that we prevent the export of technologies used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to engage in techno-authoritarian oppression in Xinjiang,” said Representative John Curtis (R-UT).

“The Chinese Communist Party is engaged in rampant human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, where it is using a dystopian surveillance regime to repress an estimated one million Uighur Muslims and prevent them from practicing their faith. The United States must not be complicit in China’s persecution of religious minorities. This provision will free American companies from the fear that their products and technologies are being used to prop up a surveillance state,” said Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO).