A new US congressional committee on China held its second hearing on Thursday, highlighting what Washington says is an ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China's Xinjiang region, reported Al Arabiya News.
Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses, including forced labour, mass surveillance and the placement of 1 million or more Uyghurs - a mainly Muslim ethnic group -- in a network of internment camps in Xinjiang.
Top Democrat, US Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, told reporters that what happens to the Uyghur community in China affects Americans, reported Al Arabiya News.
"It's in the goods produced with slave labour, it's the degradation of human rights that makes the world less safe, and it's the ceaseless persecution of Uyghurs abroad that includes those living in America," Krishnamoorthi said.
Congressman Mike Gallagher, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, told reporters ahead of the hearing that the situation in Xinjiang "should serve as a warning for what the world would look like under CCP leadership," reported Al Arabiya News.
China vigorously denies abuses in Xinjiang and says it established "vocational training centers" to curb terrorism, separatism and religious radicalism.
The hearing is the latest in a series of events planned for the next two years while Republicans control the House to convince Americans that they should care about competing with China, and to "selectively decouple" the countries' economies, reported Al Arabiya News.
The House panel heard from Gulbahar Haitiwaji, an Uyghur woman who, speaking through a translator, recounted her experience in what she said were years spent in camps where she faced abuse and forced patriotic education.
Qelbinur Sidik, an ethnic Uzbek assigned as a teacher in one such camp, also spoke through a translator, describing prison-like conditions in which she said detainees faced torture and interrogation.
Both women managed to get to Europe where they now reside, reported Al Arabiya News.
Testimony was also heard from Nury Turkel, a prominent Uyghur American lawyer, Adrian Zenz, a German researcher who has sought to document the extent of internment camps in Xinjiang, and Naomi Kikoler from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
The US government and parliaments in countries including Britain and Canada have described China's birth prevention and mass detention policies in Xinjiang as genocide. A United Nations report last year said China may have committed crimes against humanity in the region, reported Al Arabiya News.
The bipartisan committee will not write legislation, but will make policy recommendations at a time when a desire for a hard line toward China is one of the few bipartisan sentiments in the deeply divided US Congress. (ANI)