US Politicians Must Walk Their Talk on Uyghurs and Hong Kong

Other vulnerable populations, like Tibetans and Falun Gong, should also be prioritized
October 21, 2021 Updated: October 23, 2021


The Congressional-Executive Commission on China is calling for quicker prioritization of Uyghur and Hong Kong refugees, but American interests would also be served by supporting Tibetans and Falun Gong.

Several laws meant to assist Uyghurs and Hongkongers are laying dormant in the U.S. Congress, and the American Presidency is failing to take executive action where it could alleviate the conditions of refugees from China.

Immigration of highly-skilled Chinese would strengthen the United States against our biggest totalitarian adversary, and so prioritizing Uyghurs and Hongkongers, who are likely to be critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), serves American national interests. The same logic applies to Tibetans and Falun Gong.

According to Owen Churchill in the South China Morning Post, members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) have detailed the lapses of the Biden administration and U.S. lawmakers on the issue of Uyghur and Hong Kong refugees.

The CECC is right to demand a breakthrough for several stalled bills that could protect Chinese refugees in the United States and abroad. We must more assertively provide safe harbor to Uyghurs, who are currently undergoing a genocide in China, pro-democracy Hongkongers who are stranded and risk arrest under the CCP’s new national security law if they return home, as well as Falun Gong and Tibetans, who like the Uyghurs, are undergoing a genocide by the U.N. definition.

Yin Liping holds up a picture of Masanjia Forced Labor Camp as she testifies before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China hearing titled “China’s Pervasive Use of Torture” in Washington on April 14, 2016. Yin is a Falun Gong practitioner who survived torture, forced labor, and sexual violence in Masanjia and other forced labor camps in China. (Lisa Fan/The Epoch Times)

Immigrants from China, if they can fully demonstrate that they believe in the ideals of democracy and freedom, and if they have no family or finances left in China that the CCP can use to blackmail them, should be welcomed with open arms into all the privileges and duties of American citizenship. Not to at minimum welcome these fellow human beings and valuable assets to American democracy, people who have undergone such horrific terror under the CCP’s totalitarian regime, is hypocrisy for those who purport to uphold the values of human rights, democracy, and freedom.

There are three main bills that are currently stalled.

The Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act would designate Hongkongers as priority refugees, allowing them to apply for asylum both from Hong Kong and from abroad.

The Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act would grant protection to Hongkongers on U.S. soil.

The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act would prioritize residents of Xinjiang, where there is an ongoing genocide.

While the Biden administration has taken some executive action, for example, providing temporary “safe haven” in August to Hongkongers who are already resident in the United States, this was a stopgap measure that only delays their removal by 18 months after visa expiration. The White House could do much more through an executive order that grants priority immigration status to Hongkongers, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Falun Gong who are fleeing the CCP regime.

Pro-democracy Hongkongers have been left desperate by the temporary nature of their safe haven, not knowing whether the most powerful democracy in the world, and the Biden administration which purports to support human rights, will deport them for persecution in CCP-controlled Hong Kong. Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Falun Gong refugees face the same or worse forms of uncertainty.

Representative Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), who sponsored the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act, is right to see freedom-loving Chinese immigrants as an asset to our American nation.

“What I aim to do with these high-skill visas is to send a signal to the Chinese government that if you crush the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, your loss will be our gain,” Malinowski told the Post. “You will lose the best and brightest people in Hong Kong—those who have been the secret to its prosperity and success—to your greatest adversary, the United States.”

But America should not stop at Hong Kong and Uyghur refugees, which is what the current stalled legislation addresses. There should be a set of consistent laws recognizing the plight of the Tibetans and Falun Gong as well, and welcoming all four highly-vulnerable identities, along with anyone else in China that can demonstrate their strong support for American values, to the United States where they can start new lives, live in freedom, and support not only American democracy, but the infusion of real democracy back home in China.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Anders Corr
Anders Corr has a bachelor's/master's in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. He authored “The Concentration of Power” (forthcoming in 2021) and “No Trespassing,” and edited “Great Powers, Grand Strategies.”