US seizes weaves believed to be made from hair of Chinese internment camp detainees

US seizes weaves believed to be made from hair of Chinese internment camp detainees
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves suspected of being made from the hair of detainees in Chinese internment camps.

Agents seized a shipment of about 13 tons of hair products with an estimated worth of more than $800,000, CBP said in a statement.

The agency seized the orders based on suspicions of human rights abuses in their production, using a Withhold Release Order.


“It is absolutely essential that American importers ensure that the integrity of their supply chain meets the humane and ethical standards expected by the American government and by American consumers,” Brenda Smith, executive assistant commissioner of the CBP office of trade, said in a statement.

“The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in U.S. supply chains,” she added.

CBP issued a similar detention order for another shipment of weaves in May, but in that case the products were synthetic. The Wednesday shipment was manufactured by Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co., while the May shipment was made by Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co, according to The Associated Press.

Both exporters are headquartered in Xinjiang Province, the western Chinese region where an estimated 1 million ethnic minorities, many of them the predominantly Muslim Uighur ethnic group, are detained by the government.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied any detention of minorities or forced labor facilities.

“We hope that certain people in the United States can take off their tinted glasses, correctly understand and objectively and rationally view normal economic and trade cooperation between Chinese and American enterprises,” the ministry said in a statement, according to the AP.

The report comes days after an AP investigation found that the Chinese government is engaged in a campaign of forced birth control on detainees in the region, including sterilizations, intrauterine devices and in some case abortions.