House Republican asks Xi for visa to visit Uyghurs after diplomat paints organ harvesting bill as ‘anti-China’

Chris Smith wrote Chinese President Xi Jinping to request a visa to visit Uyghurs after a Chinese diplomat slammed a bill condemning organ harvesting as "anti-China."

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. sent a letter to the Chinese president himself requesting a visa to visit the region inhabited by Uyghur Muslims, challenging a Chinese diplomat’s late-night email rant to the representative’s office categorizing legislation passed by the House condemning “forced organ harvesting” as “anti-China” and demanding the bill be stopped. 

In a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Smith, who is chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, requested a visa to visit Xinjiang to personally assess claims touted by a top Chinese diplomat in a bizarre late-night email to his office that “China fully protects the rights and interests of all ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs in Xinjiang.” 

“The Chinese Embassy’s Minister-Counselor for Congressional Affairs in Washington, Zhou Zheng, stated that ‘China fully protects the rights and interests of all ethnic minorities including Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and the living standards and human rights protections of all ethnic groups continue to improve,’” Smith said, citing the email his office received from the Chinese official one day after the House passed Smith’s Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act.

The bill would impose serious sanctions “on those complicit in the Chinese Communist Party’s ghoulish industry of stealing internal organs from political prisoners,” Smith’s office said. 


“This is of great interest to the Commission, which is a bicameral, bi-branch, bipartisan organization, established by the United States Congress to monitor China’s compliance with international human rights standards,” Smith, who took the helm of the China Commission for a fifth time in January, told Xi. “For several years, the Commission has published and maintained a database of victims of human rights abuses and has encouraged the development of the rule of law in the PRC.”

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Smith’s letter on Monday comes just weeks after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson welcomed foreigners to visit Xinjiang to see it “with their own eyes” when asked at a March 27 press conference if China would be willing to invite a U.S. congressional delegation to the region.

“In light of Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning’s remarks on March 27, 2023, that ‘the door to Xinjiang is always open,’ and that people from all countries are ‘welcome to visit,’ I write in my capacity as the Chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) to request a visa in order to visit the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of the People’s Republic of China,” Smith said in the letter, according to a copy obtained by Fox News Digital. 

“The Foreign Minister’s open invitation is a welcomed opportunity for the CECC, and others, to personally assess Mr. Zhou’s comments against the veracity of reports of mass internment and forced labor in the XUAR. Having found those multiple reports to be credible, I would like to visit sites where mass detention and forced labor are generally believed to occur,” Smith wrote. “Additionally, there are a number of American citizens, permanent residents and others who have been detained due to their apparent ties with the United States whom I would like to visit.” 


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Smith’s chief of staff previously received an unsolicited, late-night email from a Gmail account signed Zhou Zheng, the Minister-Counselor for the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States of America based in Washington, D.C., the congressman’s communications director told Fox News Digital last week. 

The message, viewed by Fox News Digital, voiced Zhou’s “strong opposition” to the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023, which the Chinese diplomat purported “directly targets the Chinese Communist Party and government and is raised by Congressman Smith.” 

“China firmly rejects this absurd bill. Chinese law strictly prohibits the sale of human organs, and China’s organ transplantation policy fully complies with the human organ transplantation guidelines formulated by the World Health Organization, with relatively strict management regulations that conform to ethical and legal principles. As early as 2018, Jose Nunes, the director of the World Health Organization’s organ transplantation program, publicly stated that the claim that ‘China has 60,000 to 100,000 organ transplants annually’ is completely unreliable,” the emailed rant continued. “Falun Gong is a completely anti-human, anti-science, and antisocial cult organization. I wonder why Congressman Smith believes in any words from such an insane cult. The so-called ‘forced organ harvesting’ in China is a farce orchestrated and a scam hyped up by ‘Falun Gong.’” 

The diplomat further claimed to Smith’s chief of staff that “China fully protects the rights and interests of all ethnic minorities, including the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and the living standards and human rights protection of all ethnic groups continue to improve. The so-called ‘genocide’ and ‘forced organ harvesting’ are lies that will eventually shatter into pieces in front of facts and truth. It is the time that the US side immediately stops baseless hype and anti-China moves and stops preceding this legislation.” 

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As of June 2022, the U.S. government estimated that since April 2017, the government has detained more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Hui, and members of other Muslim groups, as well as some Christians, in specially built internment camps or converted detention facilities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region under the national counterterrorism law and the regional counterextremism policy. 

The U.S. Department of State cited human rights NGOs and former detainees as having said authorities subjected individuals to forced disappearance, torture and other physical and psychological abuse, including forced sterilization and sexual abuse, forced labor, political indoctrination and prolonged detention without trial because of their religion and ethnicity. 

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