15 year 2021
A new front opens in the geopolitical conflict between Washington and Beijing: The United States has, in effect, announced a halt to the import of cotton and tomato-based products from Xinjiang.
The motive behind the US Customs and Border Protection decision was to suspect these goods were produced using forced labor. The agency said it investigated and found indications of forced labor, including debt bondage, restrictions on movement, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and degrading working and living conditions.
US customs officials will be instructed to withhold products such as clothing, textiles, tomato seeds, and canned tomatoes. CBP states that importers have a responsibility to ensure that they do not purchase products made with forced labor at any point in the supply chain.
The move comes on the heels of Britain’s announcement in recent days that it will tighten its laws against modern slavery to punish companies linked to alleged violations by Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We need to take measures to ensure that British companies are not part of the supply chains linked to the internment camps in Xinjiang.”
Experts have estimated that at least one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities have been put into political indoctrination camps for seemingly arbitrary reasons such as praying or traveling abroad. China has repeatedly denied that any human rights violations have occurred in Xinjiang.