CNA Staff, Sep 23, 2020 / 23:48 pm
The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to ensure goods sold in the U.S. are not made with forced labor in Uyghur Muslim internment camps in China’s Xinjiang region.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act passed the House on Sept. 22 by a vote of 406-3.
The legislation would treat all goods imported from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as being created with forced labor, unless certified otherwise by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would also require disclosures from businesses that engage with Chinese companies and would authorize sanctions on anyone determined to be responsible for labor trafficking of Uyghurs.
The bill would instruct the Secretary of State to determine whether the treatment of Uyghurs inside the internment camps constitutes genocide or other crimes against humanity, and to create a plan of response.
An estimated 1 million or more Uyghurs, members of a Muslim ethnoreligious minority group, have been detained in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, which were first spotted on satellite imagery in 2017.
The Chinese government at one time denied the camps existed, but has since shifted to defending its actions as an appropriate terrorism prevention measure.
Government officials from the region said in July 2019 that the area's re-education camps for Muslims have been successful, with most of those held having been reintegrated into Chinese society.
Those inside the camps are reportedly subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Women who have been imprisoned in the camps have told stories of forced abortions and sterilizations.