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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States has moved to block the import of goods made in China’s Xinjiang to combat alleged forced labor practices, the Department of Homeland Security said on Monday.
“US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued five Withhold Release Orders today on products from the People’s Republic of China”, the department said in a statement. “The products subject to the WROs are produced with state-sponsored forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese government is engaged in systemic human rights abuses against the Uyghur people and other ethnic and religious minorities”.
Companies that ship clothing and other cotton goods, computer parts, and hair products from the Xinjiang region were named in the order issued by the CBP.
“The series of actions CBP has taken against imports from China demonstrates the pervasive use of unethical and inhumane labor conditions in China, and CBP will not turn a blind eye”, Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Trade, said. “Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the US supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports. American consumers deserve and demand better”.
The United States is considering a broader ban on cotton and textiles and tomatoes from Xinjiang, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said.
Human rights groups say Chinese authorities have detained more than a million people — from mostly Muslim ethnic groups that include Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz — in a vast network of detention centres as part of an assimilation campaign.
China has denied the charges, saying the camps it built for Uighurs and other minorities were for vocational and Chinese language training and not for slave labour.