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US warns firms operating in Xinjiang at 'high risk' of violating forced labour laws

ANI | Updated: Jul 13, 2021 23:02 IST

Washington [US], July 13 (ANI): US State Department and five other federal agencies issued an updated advisory on Tuesday, warning that businesses with supply chains and investments in China's Xinjiang region pose a "high risk" of violating US laws on forced labour.
The updated guidance, which revises the original warning issued a year ago that focused primarily on supply chains that rely on forced labour, also added to a list of specific products in which "labour abuses may be taking place".
That list included cotton, tomato products, human hair wigs and polysilicon, a key ingredient in solar panels.
Tuesday's update adds viscose, the third most common raw material used in clothing.
The advisory was issued by the Department of State, alongside the US Department of the Treasury, the US Department of Commerce, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the US Trade Representative, and the Department of Labour.

It is issued in response to the government of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the growing evidence of its use of forced labour there.
"Given the severity and extent of these abuses, including widespread, state-sponsored forced labour and intrusive surveillance taking place amid ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating US law," the advisory read.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and subjecting them to abuse including forced labour.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) brutal crackdown on the ethnic community.
The US banned imports of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang in January, and Canada and the United Kingdom followed suit.
Many international brands, including H&M, Nike and Ralph Lauren, have also gone on record to declare their products are not made from Xinjiang cotton. (ANI)