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US blocks Xinjiang cotton imports over Uyghur 'slave labour'

The United States has blocked imports from China’s Xinjiang region where 1 million Uighur Muslims are being held in labour camps

December 4, 2020 at 3:07 pm

The US Customs and Border Protection agency said on Wednesday that its ‘Withhold Release Order’ would ban all cotton products from China’s Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, one of China’s largest producers, Reuters reported.

The ban on cotton imports comes as China continues to draw worldwide condemnation over its policies in the Xinjiang region, where nearly a million Uyghur Muslims are being held in labour camps according to Amnesty International.

US Homeland Security maintains that the centres in Xinjiang are run like ‘concentration camps’.

“The cheap cotton goods you may be buying for family and friends during this season of giving – if coming from China – may have been made by slave labour in some of the most egregious human rights violations existing today in the modern world,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli said.

Beijing has staunchly defended its policy saying training plans, work schemes and better education have helped stamp out extremism, accusing the US of “fabricating fake news of so-called forced labour and attempting to oppress Xinjiang businesses.”

READ: Saudi Arabia must free its Uyghur detainees