On Thursday, the Senate passed the bill called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act unanimously. The bill also passed the house on Tuesday, and it will be sent to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Under this bill, Chinese companies exporting to the United States from the Uyghur region must prove that the commodities or materials are made free of slave labour.
Although the bill is yet to be signed into law, press secretary Jen Psaki has said that president Joe Biden endorses the bill and will sign it into law.
She added, “We agree with Congress that action can and must be taken to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for genocide and human rights abuses and to address forced labour in Xinjiang,”
The leading co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Marco Rubio, said: “For those who have not done that, they’ll no longer be able to continue to make Americans — every one of us, frankly — unwitting accomplices in the atrocities, in the genocide that’s being committed by the Chinese Communist Party.”
He also added, “The United States is so reliant on China that we have turned a blind eye to the slave labour that makes our clothes, our solar panels, and much more.”
While Senator Jeff Merkley, a co-sponsor of the bill, said the bill was sending “a resounding and unequivocal message against genocide and slave labour wherever these evils appear.”
Moreover, on Thursday, the US treasury department announced an investment blacklist of eight Chinese companies accusing of biometric surveillance and tracking of Uyghur Muslims.
Being asked about US sanctions, Beijing foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded by saying, “By overstretching the concept of national security, certain US politicians politicise and instrumentalise science and technology and economic and trade issues based on ideology. This runs counter to the principle of market economy and fair competition. It will only threaten and hurt the security of global industrial and supply chains and undermine international trade rules.”