The U.S. House of Representatives is set to consider a bill next week that aims to ban import of products from China’s Xinjiang region over concerns of forced labor.
“Next week is an important week for human rights,” said Representative Jim McGovern, the bill’s sponsor.
“… We think it’s important to move some China legislation, hopefully much of it focused on human rights. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act we want to see that get over the finish line in some form.”
The development comes at a time when US President Joe Biden is set to host a summit of democracies next week, which is seen as an effort to push back Chinese influence.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio has persistently demanded that the bill be included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, delaying the Senate’s consideration of the massive annual bill setting policy for the Pentagon.
Once the Uyghur bill becomes law, it would create a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods from Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has set up a vast network of detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, were made with forced labor.
Human rights groups including the United Nations have publicly acknowledged that PLA ruled China is carrying out genocide in Xinjiang.
Republicans have accused the Biden Administration of slow-walking the legislation since it would complicate the president’s renewable energy agenda.
Democrats have denied the allegation.
“I just want to see a strong, a much stronger, approach when it comes to forced labor in Xinjiang,” said Democratic Representative Dan Kildee while adding, domestic production of solar panels should be ramped up.