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US House of Representatives votes to ban imports from China Xinjiang province over forced labour

December 10, 2021 at 3:59 am

The US Capitol is seen from the observation deck of the Old Post Office Tower 11 January 2019 in Washington, DC. [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

The United States’ House of Representatives has passed legislation to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang province due to concerns about the forced labour of the persecuted Uyghur Muslims.

In the vote held at the House of Representatives yesterday, its members overwhelmingly voted 428-1 in favour of the “Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act,” which would ban all imports from China’s north-western province of Xinjiang, where the Chinese authorities are running a vast network of detention camps.

In those “re-education camps” which hold over one million native Uyghur Muslims, Chinese authorities are reported to commit crimes against humanity including the conducting of torture, the sexual abuse and forceful sterilisation of women, as well as the forcing of Uyghurs into labour to produce goods and products to export internationally.

READ: China’s head of state led crackdown on Uyghur Muslims, leaks find

Washington insists, therefore, that any products which are imported from Xinjiang province are a result of forced labour. China has repeatedly denied the reports and evidences of the detention camps and,  instead, claims that it is tackling terrorism and extremism by peacefully re-educating those detained.

Despite being approved by the House of Representatives, the act must now pass the Senate and then be signed by President Joe Biden to be implemented and made into legislation.

It comes amid a series of recent actions by the US and other Western nations against China due to its human rights abuses. On Monday, the Biden administration announced that it would diplomatically boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, after which the UK and Australia also announced that they would follow suit.

READ: People power can stop the Uyghur genocide