June 21, 2022
As of yesterday, imports from China’s Xinjiang region were prohibited in the United States under new laws. Firms will have to certify that goods from the region are not made using forced labour under the laws. Members of the region’s minority Uyghur group, who are primarily Muslim, have been arrested and forced to work, according to US authorities. China has often denied allegations that it holds Uyghurs in Xinjiang internment camps.
Several products from the resource-rich region have previously been prohibited in the United States, including cotton and tomatoes. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which is set to take effect today, will extend the restrictions to all imports.
According to the US Congress, since April 2017, China has jailed over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
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It claims that tens of thousands of inmates have worked in Xinjiang and other regions “under the cover of poverty alleviation and industrial aid programmes” for “a fraction of the minimum wage or without any remuneration.”
According to the report, China also “interferes with audits and traditional due diligence efforts in Xinjiang to vet commodities and supply chains, including by intimidating possible witnesses and concealing crucial information.”