US blocks certain imports from China’s Uyghur region

US blocks certain imports from China’s Uyghur region

WASHINGTON: The US on Monday blocked the import of certain goods from China’s Xinjiang region over allegations that they were manufactured using forced labour in Beijing’s Uyghur re-education camps, Anadolu Agency reported. 

The banned items include cotton, computer parts, apparel and hair products made at a series of facilities in Xinjiang, according to the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

“By taking this action, DHS is combating illegal and inhumane forced labour, a type of modern slavery, used to make goods that the Chinese government then tries to import into the United States,” Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. 

CBP will now seize any of the identified goods if they make it to US shores. 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the directives to ban the goods, known as Withhold Release Orders (WROs), “demonstrate that the world will not stand for” China’s “human rights abuses against Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, which include subjecting individuals to forced labour and stripping them of their freedom and agency to choose how and where they work.”

 The decision to ban the goods comes as the Trump administration continues to take a tougher line on China’s treatment of its Muslim-minority Uyghur ethnic group.

In July, the US blacklisted a current and a former Chinese government official, as well as a paramilitary organisation accused of being instrumental in Beijing’s crackdown on the Turkic-Muslim group. 

The Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 per cent of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

It was widely reported reported that China has arbitrarily detained mostly Uyghur ethnic in the re-education camps but Beijing has consistently denied these allegations, stating that the camps offer voluntary education and training to counter extremism.


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