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China: US closes to Uyghur forced labor imports


Is this the end of cotton and tomato imports from Xinjiang to the United States? Joe Biden signed a law Thursday, December 23, prohibiting the purchase of products that would come from the forced labor of Uyghurs in China, and the White House has already warned American companies that would be tempted to give in to Beijing.

The text signed by the American president provides for the banning of products made in whole or in part in this Chinese province, unless the companies are able to provide proof that the products were not made with forced labor , a world first.

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The law requires special attention to be paid to imports of three products: cotton, of which Xinjiang is one of the world’s major producers; tomatoes, also mass produced in the region; and polysilicon, a material used in the production of photovoltaic panels.

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This law gives the government “new tools to prevent the entry into the territory of products made with forced labor in Xinjiang and to hold accountable the people and entities behind these abuses”, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement Thursday, calling on the Chinese government to end “to genocide and crimes against humanity”.

A text carried by Democrats and Republicans

Beijing blasted the text on Friday, accusing the United States of “violating international law” and of “slander” China. In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged Washington to “immediately repair mistakes”, otherwise threatening reprisals.

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In a rare unanimity, the Senate voted on December 16 this text carried by both Democrats and Republicans, supporters of an aggressive policy towards Beijing. This vote came despite a lobbying campaign by American companies, some of which are very dependent on their supplies in China and which raise the scarecrow of additional disruptions in world trade, already disrupted by the pandemic.

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Beijing is accused by Western countries of enclosing the Uyghurs, a majority Muslim and Turkish-speaking community in western China, in large labor camps.

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