The US Senate passed a bill on Wednesday to ban imports of products from China’s Xinjiang region.
The measure, which is also expected to be approved by the House of Representatives and President Biden, serves to punish China for the genocide US officials say is being committed against Uyghurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang.
The new law will be based on the assumption that goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labour. They are therefore prohibited under the Tariff Act of 1930. It is not yet clear when the House will consider the bill.
The bill goes beyond economic steps the US has previously taken to denounce alleged human rights violations in China, including import bans on tomatoes, cotton and some solar products from Xinjiang.
Human rights groups, researchers and former residents of Xinjiang, among others, argue that authorities in the Chinese region have enabled forced labour by restricting the movement of about one million Uyghurs and other mainly Muslim minorities since 2016.