Published: Tue, September 15, 2020
Economy | By

DHS blocks some Chinese clothing, hair products over forced labor allegations

DHS blocks some Chinese clothing, hair products over forced labor allegations

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, "The Trump Administration has led the world in calling attention to the Chinese Communist Party's egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and we've taken action to back up our rhetoric".

The treatment of people in Xinjiang has become a source of friction between the US and China amid broader tensions over trade and the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Watchtowers on a high-security facility near an alleged "re-education" camp for Muslim ethnic minorities outside Hotan in China's Xinjiang region.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced a list of imports Monday that are now prohibited from China's Xinjiang region due to the government's "illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor".

Customs and Border Protection officials told Reuters last week that they had prepared the broader bans on cotton, cotton textiles and tomatoes, among China's biggest commodity exports, along with the orders announced on Monday.

Customs and Border Protection announced five withhold release orders (WRO) on products shipped from the region, saying they will be blocked at USA ports of entry and won't be allowed into the American market.

The United States, like other Western countries and many global organizations, accuses Beijing of carrying out large-scale persecution of Uyghurs and of arbitrarily interning more than one million Muslims in Xinjiang in camps.

"This is not a vocational center, it is a concentration camp", said Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland.

"Allowing goods produced using forced labor into the US supply chain undermines the integrity of our imports".

In its orders, CBP named the Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd., which make clothing in Xinjiang.

CBP did not identify any USA companies that do business with the named entities.

The products include apparel, cotton, and computer parts. Enforcement has increased since the law was strengthened in 2016 under President Barack Obama.

China has denied widespread and consistent reports of abuse and mistreatment of the Uighurs and other minorities, defending the campaign as an effort to crackdown on extremism and claiming the detention camps are for vocational and Chinese language training.

The CBP in June seized 13 tons of human hair products suspected to have been made with forced labor from Xinjiang.

The US trade action is the latest in a series of steps by the Trump administration targeting Chinese authorities and businesses over allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

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