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US NGO applauds passage of ‘historic bill’ to clamp down on goods from Xinjiang

US House of Representatives passed Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Wednesday which ensures goods made with forced labour in Xinjiang don't enter the US.

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New Delhi: US-based NGO Justice for All applauded the passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the lower house of the US Congress.

“Justice For All applauds the passage of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the House of Representatives is a historic bill to stop China benefiting from the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Turkic people in the ongoing genocide,” the NGO said in a statement.

The US House of Representatives Wednesday passed the “historic bill” to stop China benefiting from the forced labour “in the ongoing genocide” in Xinjiang, following the Senate’s unanimous approval of a companion bill in July. The legislation ensures goods made with forced labour, with respect to ethnic minorities like Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, don’t enter US markets.

To become law, it must also pass the Senate and be signed by President Joe Biden.

“I urge the President to make this bill into law,” said Save Uighur Campaign Lead Serwi Huseyin. Save Uighur Campaign is a Justice for All initiative that aims to educate and advocate for Uyghur people. Established in 1999, Justice for All has Consultative Status with the UN.

Though Democrats and Republicans are roughly equal in number in the House, the bill was passed with a strong bipartisan vote of 428-1.

Thomas Massie, a Republican representative from Kentucky, voted against the bill. Last week, Massie sparked outrage for tweeting a photo of him and his family holding guns in front of a Christmas tree, shortly after a school shooting took place in Michigan, with the caption: “Merry Christmas! PS Santa, please bring ammo.”

What does the bill say

The bill says forced labour in Xinjiang has been “confirmed by the testimony of former camp detainees, satellite imagery, official media reports, publicly available documents, official statements, and official leaked documents”.

It says that audits and efforts to vet products and supply chains in Xinjiang are “unreliable due to the extent forced labor has been integrated into the regional economy”. The inability of witnesses to speak freely about working conditions and the incentive of government officials to conceal government-sponsored forced labour also shadow these audits, it adds.

Asked to comment on the passage of the bill during a press conference Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said: “This is in essence political manipulation and economic bullying in the name of human rights.”

Also read: Chinese policies against Uyghurs could claim 4.5 million lives by 2040, study says


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