TLHRC Co-Chairs, Along With 31 Commission Members, Press State Department to Monitor Tibetan and Muslim Human Rights in China Following Closure of Chengdu Consulate
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Andy Levin (D-MI), member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, sent a letter, signed by more than 100 bipartisan members including Co-Chair Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and 31 members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding the closure of the United States consulate in Chengdu following the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China’s decision to revoke its license on July 24, 2020.
Read the full text of the letter here.
The lawmakers write: “We are concerned that the consulate’s closure will impede the U.S.’s ability to monitor conditions in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), and Tibetan areas in Sichuan, Gansu and Yunnan provinces, as well as in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), often referred to as Xinjiang. As such, we urge the Department to send to Congress a strategy for continued monitoring of human rights in these regions.”
Situated further west than the United States’ other five consular posts in China, the New York Times reported in July that the Chengdu consulate is our “most valuable diplomatic outpost for gathering information on Xinjiang and Tibet.”
Without this critical vantage point, the lawmakers expressed deep concern that it will be more difficult for the United States to assess human rights conditions in Tibet, where the Chinese government has long denied the Tibetan people their fundamental human rights and threatened the very existence of their culture, and the XUAR, where Chinese authorities have detained an estimated one million or more Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui, and other largely Muslim ethnic minorities.
In addition to requesting a detailed strategy to continue robust human rights monitoring in Tibet and the XUAR, the lawmakers urged that a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, as required by the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-228), soon be appointed and confirmed.