Washington: President Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that prohibits imports into the United States of goods made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the White House said on Thursday.
“On Thursday, December 23, 2021, the President signed into law: H.R. 6256, which bans imports from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang) of the People’s Republic of China and imposes sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for forced labor in the region,” the White House said in a press release.
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed the final version of the bill earlier this month with overwhelming support.
The legislation targets “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise imported directly from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or made by Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Tibetans, or members of other persecuted groups in China.”
The legislation requires the US president to impose sanctions on officials responsible for persecuting Muslim minorities and facilitating the use of involuntary labor. Businesses will have to prove their operations do not involve the use of forced labor from alleged work camps in Xinjiang under this new law.
US lawmakers accuse China of arbitrarily imprisoning as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and members of other Muslim minority groups in a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps, where they are forced to produce “textiles, electronics, food products, shoes, tea, and handicrafts,” according to the legislation.
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied all accusations of being engaged in abuses in the Xinjiang region.