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Uyghur Force Prevention Act: Biden signs bill banning goods from China’s Xinjiang

The bill was passed by Congress this month after lawmakers reached a compromise between the House and Senate versions.

At the heart of the law is a “refutable assumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where Beijing has set up detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslim groups, are subject to forced labor. motion. It prohibits imports unless it can be proven otherwise.

Certain goods – such as cotton, tomatoes and polysilicon used in the manufacture of solar panels – are designated as “high priority” for enforcement action.

China denies abuse in Xinjiang, a major cotton producer that also supplies much of the world’s solar panels.

The Washington embassy said the move “ignores the truth and maliciously slanders the human rights situation in Xinjiang.”

“This is a serious violation of international law and norms in international relations, and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs. China strongly condemns and resolutely denies it. drop that,” embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said in an emailed statement.

He said China “will give further feedback as the situation evolves”, but did not elaborate.

In a statement on Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong indignation and resolute opposition” to the law.

“The claims of ‘forced labor’ and ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang are nothing but evil lies inflated by anti-China forces,” the statement said.

The US is engaging in “political manipulation and economic bullying under the guise of human rights,” and is trying to “undermine the prosperity and stability of Xinjiang and hinder China’s development,” it said. said more.

Nury Turkel, vice chair of the US Committee on International Religious Freedom, told Reuters this month that the bill’s effectiveness would depend on the goodwill of the Biden administration to ensure it goes into effect, particularly on when companies apply for an exemption.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Biden’s approval of the legislation underscores “the US commitment to combating forced labor, including in light of the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang.”

“The State Department is committed to working with Congress and our interagency partners to further address the issue of forced labor in Xinjiang and strengthen international action against egregious human rights abuses.” this,” he said in a statement.

One of the bill’s co-authors, Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, said it was necessary to “send a clear and unequivocal message against genocide and slave labor.”

“Now … we can finally ensure that American consumers and businesses can purchase goods without unwittingly being complicit in our appalling human rights abuses,” he said in a statement. China”.

In the last days of January, the Trump administration announced a ban on all Xinjiang cotton and tomato products.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection estimates that about $9 billion in cotton products and $10 million in tomato products were imported from China in the past year.

Additional reporting by CNN’s Yong Xiong.

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