China deplored the US’ Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act, claiming that the legislation was aimed at political manipulation and economic coercion.
China has lashed out at the US over a new law related to Uighurs, denying accusations of human-rights violations in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, suggesting they are "countering violent terrorism and separatism.”
“The US has serious problems of human trafficking and forced labour. Up to 100,000 people were trafficked into the US for forced labor annually over the past five years. Crimes against humanity against Native Americans in the past constitute de facto genocide," read a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement on Friday.
"The US should save the labels of ‘forced labor’ and ‘genocide’ for itself.”
The US legislation “maliciously denigrates the human rights situation in … Xinjiang in disregard of facts and truth,” the statement said.
The law in question is the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act signed into law by US President Joe Biden on Thursday.
The US law bans imports from the Uighur-majority Xinjiang Autonomous Region in northwestern China and imposes sanctions on foreign individuals responsible for alleged forced labor in the region.
READ MORE: China condemns US sanctions, warns response
According to China, the move "will only undermine the stability of global industrial and supply chains, disrupt international trade order and hurt the US’ own interests and credibility."
The country called on the US “to correct the mistake immediately, and stop using Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region-related issues to spread lies, interfere in China’s internal affairs and contain China’s development.”
“It is preposterous for the US, a country with a deplorable track record of human rights issues, to accuse and smear China,” the statement read.
The US was accused of “engaging in political manipulation and economic coercion,” asserting that “allegations of ‘forced labour’ and ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang are nothing but vicious lies concocted by anti-China forces,” the statement said.
The US bill was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley 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.
Over the years, several countries have accused China of ethnic cleansing of Uighurs in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
According to UN data, at least 1 million Uighurs are kept against their will in places Beijing calls “vocational training centers” and the international community defines as “re-education camps.”