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House passes legislation to crack down on business with companies that utilize China's forced labor

House passes legislation to crack down on business with companies that utilize China's forced labor
© Bonnie Cash

The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at tamping down the exchange of goods made in forced labor camps by Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.  

The  Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act — introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and passed in a 406-3 vote — would “prevent certain imports from Xinjiang and imposing sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations" from the region." 

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have stressed the need for the U.S. to take action to combat the human rights abuses in China.  

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“It is time for Congress to act. Over the past several years we have watched in horror as the Chinese government first created and then expanded a system of mass internment camps,” McGovern said on the floor ahead of the vote.   

“As many as 1.8 million Uighurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups have been arbitrarily detained in the camps and subjected to forced labor, torture, political intimidation, and other severe human rights abuses.”

Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulBiden pushes into Trump territory Trump appointee sparks bipartisan furor for politicizing media agency Biden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver MORE (R-Texas) likened the abuses to what was seen in concentration camps in Nazi Germany.  

“In July. U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a 13-ton shipment of human hair. Madam Speaker, human hair that originated in the forced labor system,” he said on the floor.  

“We haven't heard about human hair since the nazis in the concentration camps of the war that my father fought in, World War II. It's brazen and sickening. We must refuse to be complicit financially or otherwise. And the CCPs crimes against the Uighurs, the Muslim Uighurs, for that reason I support this bill before us today.”

The House is also slated to pass legislation that would require publicly traded companies in the United States that do business within the region to disclose information on their supply chains and whether their products are made by forced labor.