China vows to take all necessary measures to safeguard its institutions and enterprises after the U.S. Senate passed a law barring imports from the Xinjiang region unless businesses can prove they were made without forced labor.
The law is the latest U.S. penalty over China’s alleged systemic and widespread abuse of ethnic and religious minorities in its far western region, especially Xinjiang’s predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the law after overcoming initial hesitation from the White House and what supporters said was opposition from corporations. He also announced new sanctions Thursday that target several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies, a leading drone manufacturer and government entities for their actions in Xinjiang.
Despite numerous independent investigations finding forced sterilization and large detention camps where many Uyghurs allegedly are compelled to work in factories, China has denounced all such claims as the “lie of the century.”
“The U.S. government is trying to strangle the economy of Xinjiang through its industrial and supply chains under the false pretexts of ‘forced labor’ and ‘violations of human rights,’ the official Xinhua News Agency said Friday, citing a report by the Institute for Central Asia Studies under Lanzhou University in northwestern Gansu province.
U.S. government agencies are required to expand monitoring for forced labor by China’s ethnic minorities. The new law establishes a presumption that goods from Xinjiang are made with forced labor, so businesses wanting to import goods from there must prove no involvement of forced labor, including by workers transferred from Xinjiang.
– Ella Breedlove