Jun 2, 2020
Transcript: Nancy Pelosi Holds Ceremony for Uyghur Human Rights Bill
Nancy Pelosi held a ceremony today for Nancy Pelosi a Uyghur human rights bill. Pelosi, holding a Bible, urged Trump to help the country heal and should be a “healer in chief.”
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Nancy Pelosi: (00:33)
Good morning everyone. Keep our distances here. Thank you for being here as we enroll the Uyghur bill. This is legislation regarding Human Rights Policy ACT. I’m honored to be here with my colleague, a gentleman from New Jersey whom I’ve work for decades on the issue of human rights in China and throughout the world. This legislation sends a clear message to the government of China, that we are well aware of the abuse of human rights and as far as we, our community is concerned.
Nancy Pelosi: (01:13)
I want to thank him for his leadership and here in civil rights. Thank you. To thank him for his leadership and then also Senator Menendez, Senator Rubio has been a champion on this, Senator Risch, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Foreign Relation Committee they call it. Then have Eliot Engel, our chairman and ranking member, McCall [inaudible 00:01:39] he’s been a champion on human rights, religious freedom throughout the world, and Jim McGovern who’s the Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China and Chair [Velantos 00:01:50] commission of which Mr. Smith is a co-chair as well as the ranking member on the Congressional Executive Commission on China.
Nancy Pelosi: (02:01)
That is all to say in a bipartisan way, in a bicameral way, over the years, there has been a real commitment to shine a bright light on human rights violations in China and to say to those who are affected by that, you are not alone. You are not. A most excruciating form of torture that a president can give to those who they were oppressing is to say nobody remembers, nobody cares. Well, we do and we want China and the government to know that. So that’s why it’s such an honor to enroll this bill passed by the Senate and the House in a strong bipartisan way to send to the President to sign. This especially meaningful this week, June 4th, the 34th… Excuse me, 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:00)
So it was talking about the denial that the Chinese government is about that massacre 31 years later, whether you’re talking about oppression into there to eliminate the religion, the language, the culture of Tibet. Whether we’re talking about oppressing democracies in Hong Kong and throughout all of China, or whether we’re talking about [inaudible 00:03:24] bars. The situation in the years we’ve been working together has not improved, sadly there. But we will never stop.
Nancy Pelosi: (03:33)
If we ever decide that for commercial reasons, we will not call attention to the human rights violations in China, we lose all moral authority comes speaking turn about human rights any place in the world. With that, again, I with great respect and gratitude to Mr. Smith for his incredibility working with [inaudible 00:03:56]. You know him in Congress, but very much still in the forefront on religious freedom and human rights throughout the world. I’m pleased to [inaudible 00:04:07] gentlemen from New Jersey, Mr. Smith.
Mr. Smith: (04:08)
Madam Speaker, thank you so very much. As you mentioned on the eve of the June 1st remembrance of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, which the Chinese government continues, to this day, to deny that people died in the Tiananmen Square. I want to thank you for your extraordinary leadership. We have the people of Hong Kong, the people of Tibet, religious believers throughout the entirety of China and now, especially the Muslim leaders who are the subject of a Xi Jinping genocide. This is a genocide. More than 1 million people are in concentration camps, millions more are harassed every single day, often [inaudible 00:04:46] families have been torn apart. Whole families, [inaudible 00:04:50] human rights leader who is in this area of the country who has been incarcerated herself, her entire family, all the extended family are all now in jail and are being abused each and every day. That’s how they’re doing it.
Mr. Smith: (05:05)
I would point out that in 2018, Mark Rubio and I co-chaired the China Commission hearing and one of the people we heard from was Mihrigul Tursun. She had been arrested as part of this massive intermittent, tortured. She stood, she said, “60 plus women were all in one cell.” They couldn’t even sleep at night or [inaudible 00:05:26] in the day. They were committed to being tortured and would have to stand because there was room. They took turns in moving away so some of the more elderly could recline. She said she was so hardly mistreated and electrocuted as a part of torture, that the torture revealed and sexually abused. She prayed to God to die and she asked her [inaudible 00:05:47], her torturer, “Why are you doing this?” You know what he said? “Because you’re a Muslim and because you are weaker, plain and simple.” And that is what we’re dealing with here.
Mr. Smith: (05:59)
Xi Jinping is directing this that we know from lead documents that New York Times published and others where they started it. Pointed out that this was all part of a contrivance of plan to crush the leaders in Xinjiang. There’s 10 million people we’re talking about or more, but at least 10 million and to do so in a draconian way. Now just to reproach from Xi Jinping, [inaudible 00:06:24] said, “The weapons of the people’s democratic dictatorship must be wielded without any hesitation or wavering.” He said that there has to be a smashing offense, obliterating offense. Crush people, and you do it with torture, or you do it with bayonets, and that’s what they’re doing. This legislation will be signed as identical, nearly identical to the legislation that [inaudible 00:06:46] do joined by Tom Swazi, a good friend from New York and 136 co-sponsors, bipartisan.
Mr. Smith: (06:53)
The Speaker gave her full endorsement to that legislation, 17, more than 17 months ago. So we are here now. Things take a while, even important ideas like this one, but this will send a clear message. Again, what’s in this really global magnicity. We will provide when names are put together by the administration that will be signed by the President to deny visas to those who are abusing, and also the ability for any of these people to do business with the United States for any of our banks. So it is an economic sanction and a visa sanction, and it is a start and it’s only a start, but it’s a very significant start. I thank you Speaker [inaudible 00:07:30].
Nancy Pelosi: (07:32)
Thank you so much for your leadership and now I’m honored to sign, enroll this important legislation as we turn it over to the Senate. [inaudible 00:07:50].
Mr. Smith: (07:38)
Okay. Thank you.
Speaker 3: (07:39)
Will you react to last night to what happened [inaudible 00:07:59]?
Nancy Pelosi: (07:59)
Speaker 4: (07:59)
She’s going to come back in here real quick.
Nancy Pelosi: (08:44)
Last night, when I was hoping the President would hold up the Bible, I was thinking of so many things in the Bible that would have been appropriate in terms of humanity, of all people in our country. We’re thinking about time. Time is such a most important commodity, the most important commodity, the most finite of all commodities. The time it takes to make the change necessary and it’s a long overdue time for us to make some of that change that people were calling out for.
Nancy Pelosi: (09:20)
I was thinking of the book of Ecclesiastes and in it, they talk about there’s an appointed time for everything, Ecclesiastes says, in [inaudible 00:09:28]. “The time for every event under heaven,” he talks about a time to heal, he talks about a time to embrace and the time to show an embracing. How about that? [inaudible 00:09:41] for today, a time for peace. Let’s focus upon the time to heal. The time to heal. We have had, as a role of President of the United States, a role of Commander in Chief, a President of United States, a person who has a responsibility to heal. President George Herbert Walker Bush spoke about similar circumstances similar to now when he said this was after the Rodney King beating.
Nancy Pelosi: (10:14)
President George Herbert Walker Bush said the following, “Those terrible scenes stir us all to demand an end to gratuitous violence and gratuitous brutality. Law enforcement officials cannot place themselves above the law that they are sworn to defend. It was sickening to see the beating that was rendered and there is no way, no way in my view, to explain that away. It was outrageous, [inaudible 00:10:39] court report after the Rodney King beating.”
Nancy Pelosi: (10:42)
President Obama said after the murder of Eric Garner, “Right now, unfortunately we are seeing too many instances where people just do not have competency for folks who are being treated fairly. In some cases there may be misperceptions, but in some cases, that’s a reality. It is incumbent upon all of us [inaudible 00:11:05] regardless of race, religion, faith, that we recognize, this is an American problem and not just a black problem, or brown problem, or a Native American problem.
Nancy Pelosi: (11:16)
This is an American problem. When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that is a problem.” I do want to quote my colleague, Mr. Clyburn, the distinguished Whip Democratic [inaudible 00:11:30] the House. He said this, “Fire, bombing, police cars, burning down businesses and ravaging our neighborhoods dishonors the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and will destroy thousands of livelihood.”
Nancy Pelosi: (11:45)
So this is not without concern about what people protest can sometimes lead to by [inaudible 00:11:53] exploit the situation. But it is about how we treat people and again, across our country, President Obama said the other day, many law enforcement people take pride in what they do and would not identify with his actions that were taken against Georgia Floyd, but in fact, it did happen and it happened in broad daylight.
Nancy Pelosi: (12:19)
It happened for all the world to see a knee to the neck, not only by the perpetrator of that murder, but by three officers observing it. So, it’s time. It’s a time for us to address. That’s why the big concerns that were being expressed by the protestors. This is not an incident and a single incident. We know this is a pattern of behavior. We also know the history that takes us to this sad place. That’s why I’m so proud of the work of the Congressional Black Caucus. We call that the Conscience of the Commons. The important work they’re doing, have been doing over time and now are ready to come forward with legislation, whether it’s to end racial profiling, or some of the other… a number of pieces of legislation to police brutality being a part of that, but racial profiling being such a universal affliction that we must be rid of.
Nancy Pelosi: (13:22)
So we will be making their recommendations. They will be having their town hall, their hearings. Of course, it is the responsibility of all of us to take the time to heal. But we are looking to them for their values-based, sad experience, and their leadership in terms of legislation. Congresswoman Madam Chair, Karen Bass of California has been very measured and deeply concerned about all of this working with our members. We have many legislative proposals. I wrote to them to prioritize security. We had some of us who, what some of the members who wanted to have a comprehensive bill, others, more individual approach. But in a matter of just a short period of time, those decisions will be made.
Nancy Pelosi: (14:18)
I think the American people will be well served. But we would hope that the President of the United States would follow the lead of so many other presidents before him to be a healer and chief and not a fanner of the flame. Yesterday, we saw a most unfortunate situation where before the curfew, the time of the curfew occurred, peaceful demonstrators in front of… protestors in front of the White House were beaten. Some people came out and beat them so they could clear the area so the President could come out and go forward. What is that? That has no place and it’s time for us to do away with that. A time to heal [inaudible 00:15:06]. Thank you all very much.