US Senate passes bill banning goods from China’s Xinjiang

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Washington [US], July 15: Proceeding further from terming human rights abuse against Uyghurs as genocide, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to ban the import of products from China’s Xinjiang region.

Passed by unanimous consent, the bipartisan measure conveyed the message to Beijing “and any international company that profits from forced labour in Xinjiang is clear: no more goods from Xinjiang.”

It added that the US would “not turn a blind eye” to the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s “crimes against humanity,” nor “allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses.”

Senator Marco Rubio from Florida introduced the legislation with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. The bill will now have to pass the House of Representatives before President Joe Biden signs it into law.

The latest action by Joe Biden administration was taken as there have been growing concerns in the US for months around the mass detention of up to 2 million Muslim-majority Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in sprawling facilities in China’s western Xinjiang region.

Merkley noted that Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang “are being forced into labour, tortured, imprisoned, forcibly sterilised, and pressured to abandon their religious and cultural practices by the Chinese government.”

The administration updated an advisory on Tuesday warning that businesses with supply chains and investments in the Chinese region of Xinjiang run a “high risk” of violating US laws on forced labour.

A new report by the US government’s Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) reported by CNN claims there is now evidence of “egregious human rights abuses” of detainees being used as forced labor in manufacturing and textiles factories across Xinjiang.

According to the CECC, goods from international brands such as Nike, H&M, Esprit, Adidas and Calvin Klein may have been partially sourced from the region’s forced labor facilities.

“Forced labor exists both within the (Xinjiang’s) system of mass internment camps, and throughout the region, and is confirmed by the testimony of former camp detainees, satellite imagery, and recently leaked Chinese government documents,” the report said.

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