Rep. Ken Buck sends letter to CEO of Marriott International criticizing hotel’s refusal to host World Uyghur Congress
Washington, DC — Rep. Buck (CO-04) sent a letter Friday to Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano expressing reservations and concerns about the company’s decision to refuse to serve the World Uyghur Congress — whose mission is to fight against perpetual persecution. by the Chinese Communist Party.
“Under the guise of ‘political neutrality,’ the Prague Marriott Hotel has become an extension of the intense persecution against Uighurs perpetuated by the Chinese government,” the congressman said. “By closing its doors to the WUC, the hotel has affiliated itself with the Chinese government’s policy towards the Uyghur people.”
Buck then described the WUC’s mission and how it has earned a positive reputation and international respect, working diligently to secure the human rights and individual freedoms of various groups and individuals around the world.
“The World Uyghur Congress is the largest and most respected group of Uyghur leaders scattered around the world,” the Colorado Republican continued. “According to the WUC’s mission statement, it was founded in 2004 to “promote democracy, human rights and freedom of the Uyghur people and use peaceful, non-violent and democratic means to determine their political future” .”
He then expressed his deep concerns that the hotel giant is turning away those fleeing and fighting against genocide, in an effort to publicly appease the CCP.
“In mid-November 2021, the WUC held its annual meeting in Prague,” Buck wrote. “The Uyghur people, alongside other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, face extermination in China through a policy of genocide, but your company has found it untenable to allow the WUC to gather at the facilities of your company to advocate for their continued existence as a people in the face of extreme persecution, genocide and crimes against humanity being implemented against them in China.”
This is not the first time that Marriott has been accused of bowing to pressure from the Chinese government.
Marriott issued an apology to China in 2018 for listing Taiwan, Macao, Tibet and Hong Kong as independent countries rather than Chinese territories. The statement at the time read, “We do not support separatist groups that subvert China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Buck closed the letter by saying that past prostration in 2018 likely helped set the stage for Marriott’s rejection of the WUC last month. He also asked the company to clarify its position to avoid further ambiguity in the future and to tell the public if the CCP had contacted them, in an effort to interfere for political reasons.
“Because of the precedent created by Marriott International to acquiesce to the Chinese Communist Party’s demands, hotel management in Prague could have reasonably imagined that their decision was necessary to comply with this functional policy,” Buck wrote.
He added, “I ask that you publicly clarify your company’s policy on accommodating individuals, entities or groups who disagree with the Chinese government… [and] I urge you to publicly disclose if your company has been contacted by the Chinese government or its officials in opposition to the WUC’s request to meet at the Prague Marriott Hotel.”