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Xinjiang banned from imports until it can prove ‘it is made without forced labor’

A bill has been passed in the Senate that would ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region until companies can prove they weren’t produced by forced labor. Currently, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is with President Joe Biden, who should sign it into law. In a statement on Tuesday, Jen Psaki said the president ‘welcomes the agreement by Congress’ on the bipartisan bill.

For months, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House have debated Uyghur legislation. ‘The Administration will work closely with Congress to implement this bill to ensure global supply chains are free of forced labor, while at the same time on-shoring and third-shoring key supply chains, including semiconductors and clean energy,’ Psaki said.

Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim minority group in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have been subject to human rights abuses such as surveillance, forced sterilization, and re-education camps in recent years. The Uyghur Autonomous Region was declared a ‘no rights zone’ by the United Nations in 2018 and described as a ‘massive internment camp shrouded in secrecy’.

According to an official transcript of an official press conference held by the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian called accusations of forced labor and genocide in Xinjiang ‘the biggest lie of the century’ that are ‘politically correct’ in the United States. ‘Xinjiang-related disputes or interference in China’s internal affairs are not an excuse for US Congress to interfere in China’s affairs’, Zhao said. In the name of human rights, some US politicians resort to deceiving the public and stirring up trouble on such issues. This is done to contain China and hold back the country’s development.

Read more: ‘Fraudulent resume for teaching job’: South Korean presidential candidate makes an apology

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida and one of the bill’s authors, said many companies have already cleaned up their supply chains. They needn’t worry about this new law. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement that eliminating this from global supply chains, including those that pass through Xinjiang, China, and exploit Uyghurs and other minorities, is a moral and economic imperative.

The bill follows other actions taken by US authorities to punish China for human rights abuses in Xinjiang. In a statement, the US Treasury Department said drone-maker DJI and seven other Chinese companies had been added to its investment blacklist. Over concerns about forced labor in the region, the US banned the importation of certain products – including cotton – from Xinjiang last year. A report published in November shows that 82 major brands around the world – such as Gap, Target, and Uniqlo – rely on intermediaries to import Xinjiang cotton fabric or yarn.


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