Press Release

Gillibrand, Harris Urge Secretary Of State Pompeo To Take Immediate Action To Cease Genocidal Campaign Against Minority Women In China

Jun 30, 2020

Today, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) called on the Trump administration to take immediate action following an alarming report from the Associated Press detailing China’s ongoing genocidal campaign against Uyghur and other ethnic minority women in western China. According to the report, the Chinese government has forced thousands of minority women to undergo pregnancy checks, gynecological exams, forced insertions of intrauterine devices, and abortions. Women deemed to have “too many” children have also been threatened and punished. Gillibrand and Harris are demanding answers from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the administration’s plans to hold China accountable for these grotesque violations of women’s rights. 

“The recent reports of a genocidal Chinese campaign against Uyghur, Kazakh and other ethnic minority women are horrifying and deeply disturbing,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The reported actions of forced sterilization are an affront to women’s rights globally. It is a foundational human right that every woman, no matter their background, should have full autonomy over her own body and reproductive health—any government attempt to strip away that right must be stopped. Secretary Pompeo must provide answers on the administration’s plans to confront China’s clear violation of human rights.”

“The reports of persecution of Uyghur and other minority women in western China are unconscionable. We cannot be silent. The United States must speak out against these human rights abuses and demand accountability and justice. Secretary Pompeo must answer for what the United States is doing to end this genocidal campaign and suffering,” said Senator Harris.

Full text of the letter can be found here and below. 


Dear Secretary Pompeo, 

We write out of alarm over reports indicating that the Chinese government is currently undertaking a draconian campaign to forcibly sterilize and detain Uyghur and other ethnic minority women in western China. As you are aware, this systemic abuse and violation of women’s rights is one aspect of the Chinese government’s broader genocide against the Uyghur, Kazakh, and other minority groups within the People’s Republic of China.  

According to investigative reporting by the Associated Press, the Chinese government is forcing thousands of minority women to pregnancy checks, gynecological exams, forced insertions of intrauterine devices, and abortions.  In addition to police raids, women are also threatened with or punished with exorbitant fines or detention if authorities believe that they have ‘too many’ children. In detainment, women are beaten, forcibly rendered sterile through injections or oral medication, or forcibly given abortions. These actions are part of the Chinese government’s goal to decrease the birth rate among minority groups in China and to cause severe trauma in order to stifle these communities. 

The freedom for women to make autonomous choices about their bodies is foundational to broader human rights in any country. Any strategic efforts to hold China accountable for its genocidal campaign against minorities must address these horrific instances of abusing women and revoking their autonomy. 

On Monday, June 28th, you tweeted that, “The United States condemns the use of forced population controls against Uyghur and other minority women and calls on the CCP to cease its campaign of repression. History will judge how we act today.” 

What actions do you and the State Department plan on taking in light of this reporting?

We look forward to your prompt response. We are prepared to undertake further legislative action to answer this genocidal campaign by the Chinese government.