WASHINGTON – Human rights activists, labor leaders and others urged Biden officials on Friday to work hard to curb the illegal activities of forced labor in Xinjiang province in China, citing slavery and forcing disruptions on companies passing through the region. and China too.
The law, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, was signed by President Biden in December and comes into effect in June. It bans all production in Xinjiang or links to other organizations or programs under sanctions and transfers fewer workers to workplaces, unless the lender can prove to the US government that its sales chains are not compulsory.
It remains to be seen how this law will be enforced, and whether it affects a few or more companies. An in-depth interpretation of the law could shed light on many of the United States imports from China, which account for more than a quarter of all manufactured goods worldwide. This could lead to goods being closed off the U.S. border, possibly delaying imports and increasing inflation.
The law requires the Biden management team to compile a number of corporate lists and matters of concern in the coming months. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
“I believe there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of companies affiliated with the groups” of the law, John M. Foote, a global business partner at Kelley Drye & Warren, said in an interview.
The State Department estimates that the Chinese government has arrested more than one million people in Xinjiang over the past five years – Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Hui and other groups – on suspicion of fighting terrorism.
China condemns the claim as “a lie of the century.” But human rights groups, formerly incarcerated, participating companies, and the Chinese government provide adequate documentation to show that smallholders are forced or forced to work in fields, factories and mines, in an effort to subvert human rights. is bringing China’s economic growth. the government sees it as a secret to peace.
Rushan Abbas, founder and co-founder of the Uyghurs nonprofit Campaign, who documented the arrest of his sister in Xinjiang, said at a conference convened by a group Friday that coercion had become “a viable option” for the Chinese Communist Party, with the aim of reducing population in the villages and towns of Xinjiang.
“The spread of this issue cannot be ignored,” he said, adding that coercive work was possible due to “corporate integration.”
Gulzira Auelkhan, a Kazakh national who fled from Xinjiang to Texas, said in the case he had spent 11 months in prison in Xinjiang along with Kazakh and Uyghurs tribes who were tortured and forced to give birth. He also spent two and a half months working in the textile industry making children’s school uniforms and gloves, which his supervisors said had gone to the United States, Europe and Kazakhstan, he said through an interpreter.
It is already forbidden to import goods produced by the slave trade. But in the case of a sale involving Xinjiang, the law will transfer the goods of the title deed to the companies, requiring them to prove that their chains have no coercive function before being allowed to bring the goods into the country.
Chains of solar panels, textiles and tomatoes have already been tested, and companies in those areas have been working for months to eliminate any exposure to forced labor. According to some estimates, Xinjiang is the world’s fifth-largest source of cotton and 45 percent of its polysilicon, which is essential for solar production.
But Xinjiang is also a supplier of other weapons and equipment, including coal, oil, gold and electronics, and other companies can deal with the implementation of the law.
At a press conference Friday, investigators and human rights activists filed lawsuits against China’s glove manufacturers, aluminum, car batteries, hot sauce and other goods.
Horizon Advisory, a consultant in Washington, said in a recent report based on recent reports that China’s aluminum segment has “many signs of forced labor,” such as merger with labor reform programs and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which has been affected. target of US government sanctions for their role in the Xinjiang massacre.
Xinjiang manufactures about 9 percent of the world’s manufactured aluminum, which is used in the manufacture of electronics, automobiles, aircraft and carriers in some parts of China.
“China is a global industrial powerhouse,” Emily de La Bruyère, co-founder of Horizon Advisory, told the conference.
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“Forced labor in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China not only violates human rights, but also undermines international order,” he said. “And this is true in all areas from solar energy to textiles and clothing to aluminum.”
The law was prompted by intense pressure by agencies and others, including critics who feared that a comprehensive interpretation of the law would put the US in a position to deal with climate change at risk, or disrupt supply chains and reduce inflation.
Congress has already invested heavily in enacting legislation. It took $ 27.5 million this year to do this, money that would probably be enough to give more than 100 full-time employees to impose a Xinjiang drug ban alone, Foote said.
Companies and business groups say they were willing to comply with the ban but want to avoid unnecessary harm to their businesses.
Vanessa Sciarra, vice president of the American Clean Power Association, which represents solar and wind power companies, urged the government to provide detailed guidance to expatriates on how to monitor their chains, and use only reliable information to make decisions.
“Detention for weeks or months is a major commercial issue,” he told the court.
Many companies have been careful about their relationship in Xinjiang, and some major corporate corporations are said to have lifted the pressure on their operations.
But some are skeptical, claiming that the lack of access to the area has made it difficult for companies to conduct private research. It was not immediately clear what kind of light the government wanted, or what kind of business would be allowed by law.
For example, some companies have been merging their chains, ensuring that Xinjiang products go to China or to other parts of the world, not to the United States – according to Richard Mojica, a sales attorney for Miller & Chevalier. Chartered, says it will be enough according to the letter of the law, but “will be reviewed in the coming months and years.”
Mr Mojica said in an interview that many companies expect the government to provide clear and practical advice in the coming months on how to comply with the law, but “that hope could be wrong.”
“I don’t think we fully understand what other companies expect,” he said.