Orignally published on 2021-12-09 00:49:00 by www.dw.com
The US House of Representatives Wednesday voted 428-1 to ban imports from the Xinjiang region of China where authorities have been accused of running forced labor and concentration camps as well as committing acts of genocide against the Uyghur Muslim minority.
The “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” would ban imports from Xinjiang unless the US government can determine the products in were not made with forced labor.
The bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by US President Joe Biden for it to take effect.
China denies rights abuses are taking place and instead insists Uyghurs have been relocated to re-education camps.
However, the US, other nations, and rights groups refute China’s characterization of its treatment of Uyghurs.
What does the bill say?
The bill creates a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods produce in Xinjiang were made using forced labor.
Corporations must be able to offer “clear and convincing evidence” that products from Xinjiang did not use forced labor during production.
Additionally, the bill calls for sanctions to be imposed on foreign entities and individuals who “knowingly” helped facilitate the use of Uyghur forced labor.
Products made in Xinjiang are fully integrated in global supply chains and major corporations including Coca Cola and Nike lobbied unsuccessfully to prevent the bill’s passage.
The US House also passed a resolution Wednesday condemning the “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity” taking place in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs.
What is the larger context for US concern?
Earlier this year, Biden had warned businesses who are involved in Xinjiang run a “high risk” that they could run afoul of US laws on forced labor
The bill and its near unanimous bipartisan approval come days after the US announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics this winter over human rights concerns in Xinjiang.