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Joint Statement by Representatives Chris Smith and Joe Pitts

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

"Today's report that Arzigul Tursun, a Muslim Uyghur woman from China's Xinjiang region, has apparently been released from custody is great news for both her family and women throughout China. The decision to spare Arzigul and her child from the tragedy of forced abortion is, we hope, a sign that more women in China will be saved from this grave human rights abuse.

"We understand that the local population-control committee chief stated that the abortion would have compromised Arzigul Tursun's health. We know that abortion threatens women's physical and mental health, and we further recognize that abortion always destroys the life of a child. There are always two victims in every abortion, and we are relieved that this abortion did not take place.

"As Members of Congress, we continue to urge the US government to do everything possible to end human rights abuses in China, including withholding funds from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) until they divest themselves from providing support to the agency that carries out China's abusive population control program."

Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Joe Pitts (R-PA), both members of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, have vowed to continue to carefully follow Arzigul's case to help ensure that she and her family do not suffer any direct or subtle forms of retribution for her courage in fighting to save her child.

In the last few days both Reps. Smith and Pitts pressed Chinese officials to release Arzigul and to allow her to keep her baby. Smith also raised concerns directly with Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese ambassador to the United States and Clark Randt, U.S. ambassador to China.

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