House approves ban on Chinese goods made with Uighur slaves

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The House of Representatives passed a measure Wednesday that would ban the importing of Chinese products manufactured with forced labor.

The bill, sponsored by Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, was aimed at protecting the Uighurs, China’s Muslim minority.

Uighurs have been detained and forced to work in labor camps and factories that produce goods for dozens of popular global brands, the congressman said.

The US has said China’s imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution of the Turkic ethnic group amounts to “genocide,” charges Beijing had denied.

The proposal would allow customs officials to assume that all goods from Xinjiang, where China has set up detention camps to imprison the minority group, were made from forced labor. It also directs Washington to identify and sanction officials responsible for the atrocities.

“Put simply, we’re talking about crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the Chinese government,” Suozzi said in a statement.

Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 4, 2018.
The House of Representatives passed a bill banning the import of Chinese goods made in internment camps.
REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File
A crew member leaps to fix a logo for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics before a launch ceremony to reveal the motto for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing on Sept. 17, 2021.
The Beijing Winter Olympics in China is scheduled to start on February 4, 2022.
AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

“We need to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for these acts that violate our very conscience. Some people are going to say, ‘Oh my gosh, if we don’t do business with Xinjiang, the cost of products go up.’ Well, that’s too damn bad. This should shock everyone’s conscience.”

Republicans had accused Democrats of delaying passage of the bill — which was rolled out in February — over concerns that banning solar panels made in Xinjiang would complicate President Joe Biden’s renewable energy agenda. Democrats had denied the charges.

In this photo released on Nov. 11, 2021, by Xinhua News Agency, members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC)
The Chinese government has long denied its use of Uighurs for forced labor.
Li Tao/Xinhua via AP
Rep. Tom Suozzi
Rep. Tom Suozzi accuses China of committing “crimes against humanity” with its use of labor camps.
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The “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” passed by a margin of 428-1. It was headed to the Senate for approval before being sent to the president’s desk. Another resolution calling for United Nations action against the genocide passed by a similar margin.

On Monday, the Biden administration announced a diplomatic boycott of China’s upcoming Winter Olympics to protest the “egregious human rights abuses.” American athletes would still be allowed to compete.

With Post wires

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