Washington: The US House of Representatives on Thursday (local time) reintroduced a bill that would ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region unless it is certified they are not produced with forced labour and allow further sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for abuses against Muslims.
“We have watched in horror as the Chinese government first created, and then expanded a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps targeting Uyghurs and Muslim minorities. We now know the entire XUAR economy is built upon a foundation of forced labour and repression,” said Representative Jim McGovern.
According to the Massachusetts Congressman, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a “rebuttable presumption” that any goods made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are made with forced labour and prohibited from entering the United States unless “clear and convincing” evidence is shown to the contrary.
“Many US, international, and Chinese corporations are complicit in the exploitation of forced labour and these products continue to make their way into global supply chains and our country. It is long past time for Congress to act,” McGovern added.
Representative Chris Smith from New Jersey, a Republican, said that the US cannot be silent.
“Congress must hold the Chinese government accountable and give a strong voice to the millions of Muslim Uyghurs who are victims of genocide, rape, torture, forced marriages, reeducation camps, and other gross violations of human rights. Chinese authorities had the audacity to deny the existence of mass internment camps and portray them as vocational training centres,” he said.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) lied, censored, and used economic coercion to stifle discussion of its crimes. Beijing–which hates and harasses all faiths–has instituted plans to erase the influence of Islam in western China, the Republican representative said.
“The CCP has bulldozed mosques and shrines, severely and unjustly inhibiting the religious practice of Islam, even forcing camp detainees to renounce their faith. Our legislation is desperately needed to show support for the suffering Uyghur community in China,” he added.
The bill would prohibit all imports from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China unless the Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection can certify that the goods being imported to the U.S. are not produced, either wholly or in part, with forced labour and the Commissioner submits to Congress a report outlining such a determination.
The bill would also “Authorize the President to apply targeted sanctions on anyone responsible for the labour trafficking of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities.”
The US Department of State, under former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, declared that Beijing was committing genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
China possibly carried out “genocide” against Uyghurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang said a commission of the United States Congress in a new report.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal crackdown on the ethnic community, according to a report.
Genocide is a serious crime under international law and the US government has adopted the term on rare occasions only after extensive documentation.
Some experts said reports of mass surveillance, torture, arbitrary detentions and forced detentions employed by China against Uyghurs amount to “demographic genocide”.