February 3, 2020 / 11:57 PM / 13 days ago

Senator Rubio bringing Uighur activist as State of the Union guest

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks to reporters following a classified national security briefing of the U.S. Senate on developments with Iran after attacks by Iran on U.S. forces in Iraq, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio said on Monday he was bringing Rushan Abbas, an advocate for the rights of China’s Uighur Muslim minority, as his guest for President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The House voted nearly unanimously last year for legislation calling for a tougher response to China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslims. The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate, but the Senate’s Republicans leaders have so far not scheduled a vote in that chamber.

Members of Congress often invite guests to the nationally televised speech as a way to bring attention to political positions.

China warned last month as the two countries negotiated a trade agreement that the Uighur legislation could affect bilateral cooperation.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle

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