US Congress passes import ban on companies in China’s Uighur region

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The United States Congress has issued a ban on the import of goods from the Chinese companies in the Uighur region over allegations of forced labour. Under the new law, the Chinese companies will have to prove that the goods they produce and send off to America are not produced with forced labour. Only then the companies will be able to trade with America.

The Uighur region of China has been a controversial issue between the Chinese authorities and the world leader, including the United Nations. The UN, US, western governments, journalist bodies and human rights groups have accused China of brutally suppressing the Uighur Muslim minority in the Chinese region of Xinjiang. Beijing has repeatedly denied these charges.

The recent bill passed in the US congress accuses China of employing slavery and genocide in the Uighur region in the west of the country. The bill received the vote of every member of Congress except one. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, as the bill is formally known, now heads to the desk of President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

The bill was heavily criticized by US-based multinational corporations, like Coca Cola, Nike and Apple who do business in that area. These corporations lobbied against the bill for months out of fear that it would terribly affect their businesses.

Earlier on Thursday, the US Commerce Department announced sanctions on over 30 Chinese technology companies and research institutes that are accused of working in support of the Chinese military. The agency also accused China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences of using biotechnology “to support Chinese military end uses”, including “purported brain-control weaponry.”

China “is choosing to use these technologies to pursue control over its people and its repression of members of ethnic and religious minority groups”, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

The new rule prevents American companies from doing business with the sanctioned Chinese companies without a special licence from the US government.

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