US House passes bill to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang

Washington: The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill by a vote of 428 to 1 banning imports from China’s Xinjiang made with forced labour and threatening sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for persecuting the minority community.

The bill come days after the US announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics over rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The bill, passed on Wednesday, intends to ensure that “goods made with forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China do not enter the US market.”

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The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, requires corporations to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that imports from Xinjiang are not made with forced labour, American news website Axios reported.

The bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by US President for it to take effect.

The legislation targets “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise imported directly from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or made by Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tibetans, or members of other persecuted groups in China.”

The bill requires the American president to impose sanctions on officials responsible for persecuting minorities and facilitating the use of involuntary labour.

The legislative text highlights the poor conditions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and members of other Muslim minority groups in a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps.

The prisoners are forced to produce “textiles, electronics, food products, shoes, tea, and handicrafts” at a network of government-subsidized factories in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China, according to legislation.

Back in July, the Senate passed its version of the bill with a unanimous vote.

Earlier this year, US President Joe Biden had warned businesses who are involved in Xinjiang to run a “high risk” that they are in conflict with US laws on forced labour.

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