US Bans China’s Xinjiang Imports Over Allegations of Forced Labor

The United States banned the import of goods from China’s Xinjiang region on June 21, putting into force the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act signed into law by President Joe Biden last year.

Under the rules, all goods produced in whole or in part in Xinjiang will not be allowed to be imported into the United States unless the importer can prove otherwise.

To be granted an exception, importers would need to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that no forced labor was used in producing goods, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday reaffirmed Biden’s commitment to combating forced labor and strengthening international coordination against human rights violations in Xinjiang.

“Together with our interagency partners, we will continue to engage companies to remind them of U.S. legal obligations which prohibit importing goods to the United States that are made with forced labor,” Blinken said in a statement.

“We are rallying our allies and partners to make global supply chains free from the use of forced labor, to speak out against atrocities in Xinjiang, and to join us in calling on the government of the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to immediately end atrocities and human rights abuses, including forced labor,” he added.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that Beijing strongly condemned the law and vowed to take measures to safeguard the rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.

“The act is a clear indication that the U.S. is seeking to engender forced unemployment in Xinjiang through the legal form of actions and to make the world decouple with China,” Wang told reporters at a press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday.

Human Rights Abuses

Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in December last year to ban imports of goods that were made using forced labor, following China’s alleged human rights violations against the Uyghur ethnic minority in Xinjiang.

Persecuted Uyghurs, rights groups, and lawmakers worldwide have accused Chinese authorities in Xinjiang of facilitating forced labor by arbitrarily detaining over a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in a network of camps in the northwestern region.

Beijing initially denied the existence of any detention camps. Still, it later claimed that it had set up “vocational training centers” in Xinjiang to curb what it said was terrorism, separatism, and religious radicalism.

The United States, Britain, and other countries have called for the United Nations’ International Labor Organization to set up a mission to probe alleged labor abuses in Xinjiang and urged Beijing to allow unfettered access.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times