THE US Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to ban all products from Xinjiang over China's human rights abuse in the region.The latest efforts by the US are to punish China for the forced labour and genocide of Uyghurs and other religious minorities in the region, reported Axios.
Senator Marco Rubio from Florida introduced the legislation with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.They said in a statement after the passage of the bill that the message to Beijing "and any international company that profits from forced labour in Xinjiang is clear: no more".It added that the US would "not turn a blind eye" to the ruling Chinese Communist Party's "crime against humanity" nor "allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses".
Merkley noted that Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang "are being forced into labour, tortured, imprisioned, forcibly sterilised and pressured to abandon their religious, and cultural practices by the Chinese government".
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.
Passed by unanimous consent, the bipartisan measure would shift the burden of proof to importers. The current rule bans goods if there is reasonable evidence of forced labor.
The bill must also pass the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. It was not immediately clear when that might take place.
Xinjiang products are deeply integrated into the lucrative global supply chains,and Nike and Coca-Cola were among the major companies to have lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act, reported Axis.
The Biden administration has in recent weeks stepped up sanctions against China's government and blacklisted companies allegedly tied to the Chinese Communist Party's military policies in commiting the genocide. The administration updated an advisory on Tuesday warning that businesses with supply chains and investments in the Chinese region of Xinjiang run a "high risk" of violating US laws on forced labour.