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Bipartisan China panel issues a blueprint to address Taiwan and Uyghur mistreatment

The new House select committee on China, which has shown rare bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, made its first policy recommendations Wednesday.
Rep. Mike Gallagher and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi speak in the  Rayburn Building in Washington, D.C.,
Reps. Mike Gallagher and Raja Krishnamoorthi, leaders of the House select committee on China, in the Capitol on Wednesday.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The bipartisan House select committee on China adopted its first set of policy recommendations Wednesday, focused on how to prevent a military conflict in Taiwan and end the mistreatment of Uyghurs by the Chinese government.

The pair of reports, approved unanimously by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, are intended to serve as a blueprint for action in the 118th Congress.

“This is not a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be done,” committee Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told NBC News in an interview. “But it is an actionable list of things that we think this Congress can get done and will have a meaningful impact.”

The report on Taiwan includes 10 findings and proposals on how to “preserve peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Most of the ideas presented concern military readiness in the event China takes aggressive action in the region.

The report warns that "the United States will likely be unready to deter an invasion of Taiwan" if "urgent steps" are not taken.

The committee, which was established in January, has so far held multiple hearings, met with business leaders such as Disney CEO Bob Iger and held a war game tabletop exercise to determine how a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would play out.

Members of the committee also traveled with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to California in April to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Gallagher said his strategy in leading the committee was to focus first on human rights abuses before shifting to military and economic concerns. He said he wanted to "set the tone from the start" that Congress has "no quarrel with the Chinese people who are often the primary victims of the CCPs totalitarian repression and aggression."

The reports released Wednesday are "only a first step," Gallagher said in a joint statement with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., the top Democrat on the panel. "And we will continue operating in a bipartisan way to send a message that we are committed to deterrence in the Taiwan Strait and that we won’t turn a blind eye as the CCP commits genocide, 'the crime above all crimes,' against the Uyghur people.”

The committee's new report focused on the treatment of ethnic minority Uyghurs found that goods made in forced labor camps in China continue to enter the U.S. despite existing prohibitions. The committee recommended that Congress give the Department of Homeland Security additional resources to strengthen enforcement.

As the committee continues its work, Gallagher said, he measures success in two ways.

"One, that we have actually meaningfully impacted our colleagues in terms of explaining to them why they should care about the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party," he said.

"But the second thing is on a more practical level is that the committee identifies via these policy recommendations, which then wind up as legislation, we've identified the center of gravity in the 118th Congress when it comes to what we can do to combat CCP aggression in a bipartisan fashion."

One indicator of success early on for Gallagher has been the level of bipartisanship on the committee.

"In most of our hearings, you could have closed your eyes and you wouldn’t have known whether it was a Democrat or Republican speaking," he said. "In fact, we’ve been criticized for being too bipartisan in our approach to China. So that tells me we’re on the right track."