Thursday, October 6, 2022

US ban on imports from China’s Xinjiang region to take effect

Washington: Imports from China’s Xinjiang region are due to be banned in the US from Tuesday as new rules come into forced.

Under the the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), firms will have to prove imports from the region are not produced using forced labour, the BBC reported.

US officials have said members of the persecuted minority Uyghur community in the region, who are predominantly Muslim, have been detained and made to work.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations that it is holding Uyghurs in internment camps in Xinjiang.

Several imports from the resource-rich region, including cotton and tomatoes, have already been banned from the US, the BBC reported.

In a statement last week, US lawmakers said the law sends “a clear message that we will no longer remain complicit in the Chinese Communist Party’s use of slave labour and egregious crimes against humanity”.

“Congress stands ready to work with President Biden and his administration to ensure this historic law is fully and rigorously implemented,” US Republican Senator Marco Rubio, Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley and two other lawmakers said.

According to the US Congress, China has detained more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang since April 2017, reports the BBC.

It believes tens of thousands of detainees have worked “at a fraction of minimum wage or without any compensation” in Xinjiang and other provinces “under the guise of poverty alleviation and industrial aid programmes”.

It said China also “interferes with audits and traditional due diligence efforts to vet goods and supply chains in Xinjiang, including by intimidating potential witnesses and concealing relevant information”.

China has denied the use of forced labour and said the camps in Xinjiang were “re-education” facilities used to combat terrorism.