Rep. Scott Franklin (R-FL) is announcing legislation this week to ban China from participating in the world’s largest naval exercise, hosted by the United States Navy, until it stops committing genocide against its Uyghur minority, Breitbart News has exclusively learned.
China has already been banned since 2019 from participating in the biennial exercise, known as Rim of the Pacific or RIMPAC, over other concerns, but Franklin’s bill would add the Uyghur genocide to the list of practices China must end before it can participate again.
“China’s genocidal actions against the Uighurs requires us to apply pressure against the Chinese Communist Party wherever and whenever we can,” Franklin said in a statement to Breitbart News. “Holding China to account for these abuses as a condition to participate in RIMPAC gives us an opportunity to shine a light on what is happening while also preventing its military from being featured on the world stage.”
Franklin said his bill is just one of the many ways Congress could pressure China:
My bill is just one of 11 total bills the Republican Study Committee has developed in order to do just that. There are many others, but it would appear that President [Joe] Biden and my Democratic colleagues are more interested in emboldening our adversaries rather than pushing back against them with the full force of the U.S. government. The Biden Administration has already lifted sanctions on the construction of Russia’s Nordstream II pipeline and continues to allow Iran to fund terrorism across the Middle East. With this track record, there is no reason to expect Democrats to push back against China.
RIMPAC originated in 1971 and includes more than two dozen nations, but the U.S. Navy first invited China to participate in 2014, in hopes it would stop China from militarizing the South China Sea. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy sent four ships, but also one uninvited spy vessel.
During the Trump administration in 2018, the U.S. Navy disinvited China from participating, as Bejing’s involvement not only failed to prevent China from continuing to militarize the South China Sea, by putting more weapons systems on its claimed territories in the contested body of water, but seemed to encourage China to improve its naval capabilities.
Franklin’s bill would add the cessation of the Uyghur genocide to the existing list of criteria for China to meet in order to participate in RIMPAC again, which includes: Ending all land reclamation activities in the South China Sea; removing all weapons from its land reclamation sites; and establishing a consistent four-year track record of taking actions towards stabilizing the region.
In addition to ceasing Uyghur genocide, China would have to recognize and apologize for committing such genocide, and engage in credible justice and accountability process for all genocide victims.
“What Americans need to understand about the Uyghur genocide is that totalitarian regimes who are allowed to engage in these kind of human rights abuses without any pushback from the international community will also attack the rights and freedoms of people outside their borders,” Franklin said in his statement to Breitbart News.
“We have already seen countless examples of China engaging in censorship, unfair trade practices, and other instances of bad behavior against the United States. China’s behavior will only get worse until the U.S. takes a principled stance against horrible abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.
Co-sponsors of the bill RSC Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN), a Navy reservist, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) issued statements in support of the bill.
“Members of the Republican Study Committee are leading the way in introducing legislation to counter Communist China. The Obama administration mistakenly allowed China, our greatest adversary, to participate in RIMPAC military exercises, a decision that was later reversed by the Trump administration and Congress,” said Banks.
“This important piece of legislation would add a new common-sense condition to current law that would prohibit countries like China which are participating in genocide from participating in RIMPAC. I thank Congressman Franklin for his leadership,” he said.
“It should be common sense that we shouldn’t be engaging in military exercises with China while they actively commit genocide against the Uighur people,” said Steube. “I am honored to join Rep. Franklin and the Republican Study Committee in supporting legislation that
will hold our adversaries in China accountable for these egregious, ongoing human rights abuses.”
Wilson added, “As Chairman of the Republican Study Committee National Security and Foreign Affairs Task Force, I am grateful to support this effort to counter the Chinese Communist Party.”