The Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act was signed into law by President Biden as part of the US pushback against Beijing's treatment of its Muslim minority in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
US President Joe Biden has signed into law legislation that bans imports from China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region over concerns about forced labour.
Biden signed The Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act on Thursday, according to the White House.
The law is part of the US pushback against Beijing's treatment of the China's Uighur Muslim minority, which Washington has labeled genocide.
It was introduced by senators Jeff Merkley and Marco Rubio last year, and cleared the House and Senate in recent weeks.
"This is the most important and impactful action taken thus far by the United States to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their use of slave labor," Rubio said after the signing.
Stating that the law will "fundamentally change" Washington's relationship with Beijing, Rubio said the law "should also ensure that Americans no longer unknowingly buy goods made by slaves in China."
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Key to the legislation is a "rebuttable presumption" that assumes all goods from Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where human rights campaigners say Beijing has established detention camps for Uighurs and other Muslim groups, are made with forced labour.
Some goods - such as cotton, tomatoes, and polysilicon used in solar-panel manufacturing - are designated "high priority" for enforcement action.
Some US businesses voiced unease about the law, which bans the import of all goods from the autonomous region unless companies offer verifiable proof that production did not involve forced labour.
An estimated 20 percent of garments imported into the US each year include some cotton from Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
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Abuses in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
The bill also requires the US president to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Human rights groups and foreign governments say ethnic Uighur Muslims in the region have been subjected to years of abuse because of their identity and culture.
According to UN data, at least 1 million Uighurs are kept against their will in places Beijing calls “vocational training centres” but which critics call places for indoctrination, abuse and torture.
Beijing denies any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as “lies and (a) political virus.”
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