U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Tuesday that the United States is pushing for “increased international coordination” to combat human rights abuses by the Chinese government, with a particular focus on banning products made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
The United States and some human rights groups have accused Beijing of genocide against the Uighur ethnic group in the predominantly Muslim region, and Mr. Blinken sought to highlight the issue as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials began implementing a policy banning the importation of forced labor into the United States. law.
President Biden signed the Preventing Uyghur Forced Labor Act into law in December after overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, and Mr. Blinken emphasized Tuesday that the administration is now advocating to private companies that, should these occur, They will be held accountable. They were caught importing products that were produced in whole or in part by forced labor.
“Together with our interagency partners, we will continue to engage with companies to remind them of America’s legal obligations to prohibit the import of goods made with forced labor into the United States,” the secretary of state said in a statement.
“We are uniting our allies and partners to free global supply chains from the use of forced labor, speak out against atrocities in Xinjiang, and join us in calling for [Chinese government] Immediately end atrocities and human rights abuses, including forced labor,” he said.
China’s ruling Communist Party denies human rights violations and staunchly rejects claims by the United States and a range of other countries that genocide is taking place among Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang.
Mr Biden’s advocacy and push for new forced labour import laws ‘highlighted'[ed] We are committed to fighting forced labor around the world, including in Xinjiang, where genocide and crimes against humanity are taking place,” the secretary of state said.
In a statement of her own, Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo added that Tuesday’s implementation of the new law should “send a clear message to China and the rest of the international community that the United States will take decisive action against entities that engage in hateful use. Forced labor.”