In a rare show of bipartisan unity, Republicans and Democrats are planning to try to force U.S. President Donald Trump to take a more active stand on human rights in China, preparing veto-proof legislation that would punish top Chinese officials for detaining more than one million Muslims in internment camps, The New York Times reports.
The effort comes amid growing congressional frustration with Trump’s unwillingness to challenge China over human rights abuses, despite vivid news reports this year outlining atrocities, or to confront such issues globally.
To press Trump into action on China, lawmakers plan to move ahead with legislation that would punish Beijing for its repression of ethnic Uighur Muslims, with enough supporters to compel the president to sign or risk being overruled by Congress ahead of the 2020 election. A version of the legislation, known as the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act, passed both the House and Senate this year, but its path to the White House was stalled this month by a procedural process.
Human rights causes draw rare bipartisan support in Congress, and many Republican lawmakers have broken from Trump on the matter, even as they move in lock step with the president on nearly every other issue, including defending him against impeachment.
Lawmakers this year also passed legislation recognizing the 1915 Genocide of 1.5 million Armenians over the objections of Trump. And they approved a resolution calling for the end of American military support of the war in Yemen, in which a Saudi Arabia-led coalition is bombing civilians. Trump vetoed the measure.