'Forced labour': US House passes law to ban imports from China's Xinjiang

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Dec 09, 2021, 07:50 AM(IST)

Two other measures related to China and human rights were also passed by the Democratic-led House by landslide margins. The House of Representatives voted 428-0 in favour of a resolution declaring that the International Olympic Committee violated human rights by cooperating with the Chinese government. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Under the 'Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act' or the Uyghur measure, all goods coming from Xinjiang would be presumed to have been made with forced labour

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed a law banning imports from China's Xinjiang region because of concerns about forced labour. This is one of three measures that has received overwhelming backing, amid Washington's push back against Beijing's treatment of the Uyghurs Muslim minority.

The House overwhelmingly approved the 'Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act' by a vote of 428-1. It must now also be approved by the Senate and signed by President Biden before it can become law.

Under the 'Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act' or the Uyghur measure, all goods coming from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has set up a vast network of detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, would be presumed to have been made with forced labour.

Also read | US House to vote on bill banning imports of products from China's Xinjiang

"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 Chinese government denies abuses in Xinjiang, but the US government and many rights groups claim Beijing is committing genocide there.

In light of Xinjiang's role in supplying much of the world's solar panel materials, Republicans have accused Biden's White House and fellow Democrats in Congress of slow-walking the legislation because it would complicate President Biden's renewable energy agenda.

Democrats and the White House, however, deny delaying the legislation.

Also read | 'Xinjiang Papers': Leak reveals connection between Xi Jinping's speeches and the Uyghur crackdown

Two other measures related to China and human rights were also passed by the Democratic-led House by landslide margins.

The House of Representatives voted 428-0 in favour of a resolution declaring that the International Olympic Committee violated human rights by cooperating with the Chinese government.

Another resolution calling for action at the United Nations was passed by 427 votes to 1. This condemns China's "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity" against Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups while calling for action at the UN.

Watch | Gravitas: China cornered on Xinjiang

On Monday, the Biden administration had also announced that US government officials would boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing due to China's human rights violations. 

The United States athletes will still be allowed to participate in the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Beijing, but the Biden administration has decided not to send any diplomats or officials.

(With inputs from agencies)

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