China Blasts US House Bill 09/23 06:05
BEIJING (AP) -- China on Tuesday lashed out at the passage of a bill by the
U.S. House of Representatives that threatens sanctions over the alleged use of
forced labor in China's Xinjiang region, calling the accusation a lie.
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the bill "maliciously slandered
the human rights situation in Xinjiang" and sought to curb development and
progress in the region while stirring up ethnic divisions and interfering in
China's internal affairs.
"The so-called problem of forced labor is totally a lie fabricated by some
organizations and personnel in the United States and the West," Wang told
reporters at a daily briefing.
The House voted 406-3 to declare that any goods produced in Xinjiang are
presumptively made with the forced labor of detained Uighurs and other ethnic
minorities, and therefore banned from being imported to the U.S.
If enacted into law, it could force companies to avoid a region that
products 80% of the cotton in China, one of the world's top producers of the
fiber, as well as tomatoes and manufactured goods.
Members of Congress say the measure is needed to press China to stop a
campaign that has resulted in the detention of more than 1 million Uighurs and
other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups under brutal conditions.
Some companies and trade groups oppose a Xinjiang-wide declaration because
it puts the burden on private enterprises to ensure that an often complex
global supply chain is free of materials that have been produced with forced
The U.S. has banned imports made with forced labor since 1930 to ensure fair
trade. Enforcement has increased in recent years and U.S. Customs and Border
Protection has blocked shipments by eight companies and entities operating in
Xinjiang over the past year. The bill passed Tuesday would go further, shifting
the burden to any company that operates in Xinjiang or buys goods from there to
prove their goods are not tainted.