House Votes To Ban All Goods From China’s Xinjiang Over Forced Labor Concerns


The House of Representatives late Wednesday passed legislation to ban all goods from China’s remote northwestern region of Xinjiang over concerns about forced labor.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the Democrat-led chamber by an overwhelming vote of 428-1, now heads to the Senate. It would need to pass the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the only lawmaker who voted against the measure.

The measure would create a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has set up a vast network of detention and reeducation camps for Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, are made with forced labor.

To bypass the import ban, entities would be required to prove, with “clear and convincing evidence,” that their goods from the Xinjiang region are not made with forced labor.

The bill also requires the president impose sanctions on foreign officials that he determines have “knowingly” engaged in or facilitated forced labor of victims in Xinjiang.

It also requires the Secretary of State to, with in 90 days of the legislation’s enactment, determine whether forced labor and other human rights abuses against Uyghurs and minorities in Xinjiang “can be considered systematic and widespread, and therefore constitutes crimes against humanity or constitutes genocide.”

Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the bill’s sponsor, said on the House floor, “This is not a partisan issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a moral issue.”

A similar version of the bill previously passed the Senate in a unanimous vote in July. Lawmakers would need to go to conference to reconcile a number of differences between the House- and Senate- passed measures.

The Uyghur Human Rights Project, a human rights advocacy group, urged the House and Senate to “quickly reconcile the two bills and send the legislation to President Biden’s desk by the end of 2021.”

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who previously introduced the Senate bill alongside Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), said jurisdictional issues could slow down the House-passed bill’s progress in the Senate.

“They’re passing a bill that they know has had, in the past, jurisdictional problems in the Senate,” Rubio said Wednesday at an American Compass event at Hillsdale College, reported Bloomberg. “My sense is, even as they pass that today and I’m glad they’re taking action, they’re doing it in a way that helps those who are trying to keep this from becoming law.”

Prior to the House bill’s passage, Rubio in a statement on Wednesday accused the Biden administration and big corporations of “still working to make sure this bill never becomes law.”

“And they are already working to complicate things here in the Senate,” he added. “Anyone who helps them stop our efforts while hiding behind procedures and technicalities should be called out f… (Read more)

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