Good morning. Thank you, Chairman Smith and Co-chair Merkley, Ranking Member McGovern, and fellow commissioners. I am honored to be with you all today for this important discussion on the increasingly pervasive and concerning use of transnational repression by PRC authorities.
Transnational repression – or TNR – is a global phenomenon, but the PRC’s efforts are especially pervasive, pronounced, and persistent. The PRC uses TNR to harass and threaten Uyghurs, Tibetans, members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, Hong Kongers, and PRC citizens and non-PRC citizens living abroad, who seek only to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As we’ve heard from the Co-chairmen and Ranking Member, the PRC utilizes a wide variety of tactics, including online harassment, exit bans on or imprisonment of family members of targeted individuals, the misuse of international law enforcement systems such as INTERPOL, and pressure on other governments to forcibly return targeted individuals to the PRC.
The sheer breadth and depth of their efforts cannot be ignored and should not be permitted to continue. It is a direct affront to national sovereignty and impacts people all over the world, including U.S. citizens and individuals residing in the United States. This is why, since 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration has made combating transnational repression a global human rights priority.
One way we have sought to counter this scourge is through our diplomatic engagement and tools. We continue to engage the PRC directly, making clear in no uncertain terms that their conduct is unacceptable and must stop. We have not and we will not keep quiet in the face of these transgressions. We have used sanctions as an accountability tool as well. Specifically, in March 2022, we imposed visa restrictions on PRC officials responsible for, or complicit in, transnational repression.
This Administration energized the interagency to combat TNR in the United States, as well. U.S. government agencies have increased their domestic engagement with communities targeted by the PRC. This outreach helps to create improved two-way communication, which both enhances our understanding of the threat and helps those affected more quickly access government assistance when they are targeted – or even before this occurs.
We have also jumpstarted international cooperation to drive a global response because it is not only Americans and U.S. residents who have suffered abuses. Specifically, we deployed interagency teams to meet with foreign counterparts to raise their awareness of this threat and to share our own lessons learned.
One example of this effort is the recent launch of a G7 Rapid Response Mechanism Working Group on TNR. This coalition will raise international awareness of the threat TNR poses to democratic values and deepen our shared commitment to countering it.
The experiences and details presented by today’s panelists will surely highlight the very real threat of the PRC’s transnational repression activities, as well as the need for governments, legislators, activists, and others to continue to work even more closely together to counter it. Hearing your stories, and in some cases learning from what you have gone through personally, are vitally important as we advance our common cause.
The Administration welcomes Congress’s ongoing leadership on these issues and we look forward to deepening our collaboration.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak and thank you all for coming together today to confront this challenge.