The US Senate passed legislation on Wednesday to ban the import of products from China’s Xinjiang region, the latest effort in Washington to punish Beijing for what officials say is an ongoing genocide against Uygurs and other Muslim groups.
The Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act would create a “rebuttable presumption” assuming goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labour and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act unless otherwise certified by US authorities.
Passed by unanimous consent, the bipartisan measure would shift the burden of proof to importers. The current rule bans goods if there is reasonable evidence of forced labour.
The bill must also pass the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. It was not immediately clear when that might take place.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced the legislation with Democrat Jeff Merkley, called on the House to act quickly.
“We will not turn a blind eye to the [Chinese Communist Party’s] ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses,” Rubio said in a statement.
Democratic and Republican aides said they expected the measure would get strong support in the House, noting the House approved a similar measure nearly unanimously last year.
“No American corporation should profit from these abuses. No American consumers should be inadvertently purchasing products from slave labour,” Merkley said.
The original full article can be found at scmp.com