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US blocks imports from China’s Uyghur region over forced labor concerns

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The United States said Monday it was blocking imports from some companies in China’s Xinjiang region over alleged forced labor by the Muslim Uyghur population detained in the province.

Highlights

The ban will affect four businesses and a manufacturing plant located in the region where millions of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities have been forced to live and work in detention camps for little or no pay.

Forced labor is an atrocious human rights violation that goes completely against the values ​​we all share, said Mark Morgan, Acting Commissioner for Customs and Border Protection Told reporters Monday while announcing the action.

The companies have had an impact on clothing and other cotton products, as well as computer parts and hair products in the United States.

A broader ban on cotton, textiles and tomatoes in Xinjiang is under consideration, according to Department of Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

The New York Times previously reported that the Trump administration was weighing a ban on some or all products made with cotton from the Xinjiang region.

Chief critic

Scott Nova, head of the Workers’ Rights Consortium, which is part of the larger Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur region, stressed the importance of severing ties with the Chinese province. If big brands and retailers are prohibited from importing clothing with Xinjiang content into the most important consumer market for clothing, namely the United States, the implications for the Chinese government and its strategy of economic development in Xinjiang are huge, ”Nova said.

Large number

20%. The percentage of American clothing sold to consumers containing cotton from Xinjiang, according to calculations of the coalition.

Key context

Millions of Uyghurs, Turks and other minority Muslims have been forced into labor camps in Xinjiang, which the state has labeled as re-education camps. Two Uyghur groups recently filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court, accusing the Chinese government of crimes against humanity, torture and genocide. Specific allegations include birth control and sterilization programs applied among Uyghurs, as well as mass surveillance and massacres in the region.

Crucial quote

In his book on President Trump, former national security adviser John Bolton said the president told Chinese President Xi Jinping at a G20 summit in June 2019 that minority detention camps were the right one. things to do. Asset refuse this later in a Axios interview, saying no, not at all, when asked if Boltons’ account was true.

Fast tangent

Disney’s live-action Mulan remake came under fire after its release on Disney + earlier this month for being filmed in Xinjiang, which viewers noticed because Disney thanked eight regional government entities in the credits. movies. Among those dismissed was the “Advertising Department of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Committee, a department of the Chinese Community Party responsible for producing state-sanctioned propaganda. Two senior Republicans on the Committee oversight and reform of the House dispatched a letter to Disney last week criticizing the filming near forced labor camps and asking why institutions associated with the CCP have been fired despite the universally recognized abuses occurring in Xinjiang.

Further reading

Uyghurs accuse China of mass detention, torture in landmark complaint (NBC News)

‘Almost entire’ fashion industry complicit in Uyghur forced labor, rights groups say (The Guardian)

Mulan’s re-education? Why Disneys critics are calling for a boycott of China (Forbes)

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