The United States Senate passed legislation Wednesday which bans the import of products from China’s Xinjiang region. U.S. officials say it is the latest action taken against China to punish Beijing for the ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and Muslim groups.
The bipartisan measure was passed unanimously and shifts the burden of proof to importers. “The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would create a ‘rebuttable presumption’ assuming goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act unless otherwise certified by U.S. authorities” reports Reuters.
Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio introduced the legislation along with Democrat Jeff Merkley. “We will not turn a blind eye to the CCP’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses” stated Senator Rubio.
“No American corporation should profit from these abuses. No American consumer should be inadvertently purchasing products from slave labor” said Senator Merkley. “Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some Western lawmakers and officials say Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor by detaining around a million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities since 2016.”
The bill is expected to have overwhelming support in the House, and “the bill would go beyond steps already taken to secure U.S. supply chains in the face of allegations of rights abuses in China, including existing bans on Xinjian tomatoes, cotton and some solar products” reports Reuters.
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