U.S. Passes Import Ban on China’s Xinjiang Region in an Effort to Halt Genocide

Citing concerns over genocide, President Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans imports from the Xinjiang region in China.

The bill passed through Congress earlier this month before the President signed it into law on Thursday. It goes into effect on June 21, 2022.

This Act assumes that all products made in the region use forced labor. It prevents all imports unless it can be expressly proven through “clear and convincing” evidence they were not made with forced labor.

The Act doesn’t just limit products coming directly from the Xinjiang region; products made outside the region that source parts from Xinjiang are also subject to the new restrictions. This includes companies outside of China as well.

It also calls upon the Chinese government to “immediately end genocide and crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”

Beijing has established forced labor detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in the Xinjiang region though Chinese authorities vehemently deny any wrongdoing. They claim the camps are simply for “re-education,” aimed at combating terrorism.

The United States has previously issued sanctions against China and deployed a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. 

According to the official release:

“The State Department is committed to working with Congress and our interagency partners to continue addressing forced labor in Xinjiang and to strengthen international action against this egregious violation of human rights.”

The Xinjiang region provides cotton, tomatoes and supplies the world with materials for solar panels. These items have been designated “high priority” for enforcement action.

China is not happy about the sanctions and continues to deny any wrongdoing. Its United States embassy said the new act “ignores the truth and maliciously slanders the human rights situation in Xinjiang.”

Embassy spokesperson Liu Pengyu said that the Act is a “severe violation of international law and norms of international relations and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. China strongly condemns and firmly rejects it.”

Senator Mark Rubio was elated that Congress came together to support the bill. 

He said:

“The United States is so reliant on China that we have turned a blind eye to the slave labor that makes our clothes, our solar panels, and much more. That changes today. Our Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act will require businesses importing goods into the United States to prove that their supply chains are not tainted with slave labor. It is time to end our economic addiction to China.”

NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom is also celebrating this as a huge win. 

The basketball star has been very vocal about the genocide happening, calling for companies like Nike to stop manufacturing their products with slave labor in the Xinjiang region.

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