New stricter U.S. regulations on goods from China’s Xinjiang region have come into effect. Under the tougher rules, firms need to prove that imports from the region are not produced using forced or slave labor.
American officials have said that Uyghur people have been detained and forced to work.
China has been accused of committing crimes against humanity and genocide against the Uyghur population. Human rights groups and experts believe China has detained more than one million Uyghur people against their will over the past few years in a large-scale “re-education” campaign by the Chinese government, sentencing hundreds of thousands to prison terms.
The U.S. is among several countries that have previously accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act came into effect today. The new restrictions will extend across all imports coming from the region. Several regional imports from the region, including cotton and tomatoes, were already previously banned.
Lawmakers made a statement at the end of last week that the law sends a clear message that the U.S. will no longer remain complicit in the Chinese government’s use of slave labor and crimes against humanity.
China denies that it uses forced labor, and says the “re-education” camps are to combat terrorism. But leaked files and first-hand accounts from the camps have shown detailed information about an organized system of mass rape, sexual abuse, and torture of ethnic minorities.
China has also been accused of stripping away the rights of the Uyghurs through mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination, and even forced sterilization.
Under the new UFLPA laws, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials will stop all shipments coming in from Xinjiang that arrive at U.S. ports. Cargo will be stopped from entering America unless the importer can prove “by clear and convincing evidence” that the goods in the shipment were not at all produced with forced labor.