(RepublicanNews.org) – China has somehow managed to avoid accountability for its human rights abuses for years. Of particular concern are its recent crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, including their mass detention, torture, cultural persecution, and use as slave labor. However, all that’s about to end if the United States Senate has anything to do with it.
On Wednesday, July 14, the Senate voted to pass a bipartisan measure called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Passed by unanimous consent, the law prohibits importing any products into the US from Xinjiang, an autonomous region in northwest China home to the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the bill in the Senate, where they expect it will pass easily. Next, the bill will travel to the House of Representatives, where it is also expected to pass. President Joe Biden has expressed his willingness to sign the measure into law once it arrives at his desk.
Once signed into law, the bill creates a “rebuttable presumption” that any products originating from Xinjiang were made using slave labor and automatically fall under a ban established by the 1930 Tariff Act unless US authorities determine otherwise and create an exception for a company or goods.
Passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act isn’t the first action taken by the US against Chinese officials, but it does mark the most substantial move so far. Biden administration officials banned importing materials for the manufacture of solar panels from a Chinese company accused of using slave labor in Xinjiang in June.
Then, on July 9, the US Department of Commerce officially blacklisted 14 Chinese companies for reportedly engaging in human rights abuses, including the use of forced labor.
A Department of Commerce spokesperson told reporters that the banned companies engaged in China’s ongoing “campaign of repression, mass detention,” and other crimes against Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.
The US Senate appears to be out of patience with Chinese officials’ inhumane misconduct. Sen. Rubio issued a statement telling Chinese officials in no uncertain terms that companies will no longer be allowed to profit from the use of forced labor.
“The message to Beijing… is clear: no more,” he said.
Rubio said America will no longer “turn a blind eye” to China’s ruling Communist Party’s efforts to continue its ongoing “crimes against humanity” and will no longer let its corporations “get a free pass” to profit from “horrific” abuses.
Sen. Merkley echoed that sentiment, adding that the United States refuses to be “complicit in the Chinese government’s genocide” of the Uyghur people and other Muslim minorities.
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