Global Trade & Economy

US investigating whether Chinese detainees making products shipped to US

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said Tuesday that it is reviewing reports that certain products being shipped into U.S. markets were produced by detainees in Chinese internment camps.

CBP told The Hill in a statement that reports by The Associated Press, The New York Times and other news outlets “for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a U.S. company.”

“Reviewing allegations of forced labor is one of the agency’s top priorities, and CBP is actively taking steps to obtain and develop all relevant information necessary to determine whether violations… exist as set forth in these news articles,” the agency said.

{mosads}CBP’s statement was first reported by The Associated Press.

In a report published Monday, the AP found North Carolina-based Badger Sportswear has received ongoing shipments from a factory located in a Chinese internment camp where ethnic minorities are forced to work and live.

The imports are illegal because they are the product of forced labor, which the U.S. and the United Nations consider a form of modern-day slavery.

U.S. Badger CEO John Anton told the AP that the company is investigating the shipments and will source sportswear from other locations in the meantime.

China has come under international scrutiny in recent months amid reports that as many as 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims are being put into internment camps. The camps function as political indoctrination and forced labor centers.  

China has defended the camps, arguing they are “re-education centers.”

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