Congress passes bill banning goods made by enslaved Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang province

According to Breitbart, Congress has just passed a bill that will severely limit imports to America from the Xinjiang region of China, where it is known that Uyghur Muslims are used for slave labor. 

The bill is known as the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and it passed through the Senate on Thursday by unanimous consent, although the Republicans had to compromise a little to make this happen. The compromise came in the form of an agreement to confirm Nicholas Burns as ambassador to China, which they did.

The legislation establishes a “rebuttable presumption,” which means that just about everything made in Xinjiang was made using slave labor. This presumption can be rebutted if an importer can prove to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the product was not produced using slave labor.

Otherwise, though, imports from Xinjiang haveall effectively been banned.

What now?

Next up, the bill will head over to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The big question is: will he sign it?

Initially, there were some concerns that Biden would not sign the bill, particularly because he seeks cooperation from China on issues such as climate change. However, it turns out that those concerns are unfounded.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has confirmed that Biden will, in fact, sign the bill into law.

“We agree with Congress that action can and must be taken to hold the People’s Republic of China accountable for genocide and human rights abuses and to address forced labor in Xinjiang,” Psaki said, according to Breitbart.

China’s response

Following the passage of the bill, China released a statement via Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

According to Breitbart, the minister said:

The U.S. has wantonly suppressed Chinese institutions and enterprises by overstretching the concept of national security and abusing export control measures under various excuses. It has reached a point of hysteria and would stop at nothing to do so. What the U.S. did has seriously undermined the principles of market economy and international economic and trade rules, and harmed the interests of Chinese institutions and enterprises. China deplores and rejects this. The attempt of the U.S. to use Xinjiang to contain China will never succeed.

Mixed messages

A big question that many are now asking is why the United States will participate in the upcoming, China-based Olympics if the U.S. government agrees, as the passage of the bill suggests, that China is guilty of such atrocities as enslaving the Uyghurs.

It’s a question that the Biden administration has yet to adequately answer.

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