House Passes McGovern’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act with Broad Bipartisan Support
Washington, December 8, 2021
Tags: Foreign Policy , Human Rights
Seeking to Hold Chinese Government Accountable for Genocide and Human Rights Violations in Xinjiang, McGovern also Applauds Diplomatic Boycott of 2022 Winter Olympics
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed, by a vote of 428-1, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, a bill to stop the exploitation of the Uyghur people and prohibit imports from Xinjiang, China due to the prevalence of forced labor there. The bill was authored and introduced by Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the House Rules Committee and Co-Chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
McGovern’s Floor Remarks (YouTube)
“This is a strong, bipartisan bill with a simple purpose: to stop the government of China from exploiting the Uyghur people,” said Chairman McGovern. “In two months, the Chinese government will host the Winter Olympics in the middle of a genocide. We must take a clear moral position to stand with those who are suffering because of forced labor. No more business as usual. I am especially grateful to Speaker Pelosi for her longstanding and principled leadership on this issue and for getting it to the floor for a vote, and I urge the United States Senate to quickly pass this bill and get it to President Biden’s desk for his signature.”
McGovern, who co-chairs the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said that the evidence of systematic and widespread forced labor in Xinjiang is astounding and irrefutable—and includes evidence from camp detainees, satellite imagery of factories being built at internment camps, and public and leaked Chinese government documents.
Forced labor was listed by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in its November 2021 report finding that the Chinese government had committed crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act prohibits imports from Xinjiang to the U.S. by creating a “rebuttable presumption” that all goods produced in the region are made with forced labor unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection certifies by “clear and convincing evidence” that goods were not produced with forced labor.
As many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and members of other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority groups have been arbitrarily detained in the camps and subjected to forced labor, torture, political indoctrination, and other severe human rights abuses. Current U.S. law states that it is illegal to import into the United States “goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part” by forced labor. Yet, products made with forced labor are still making their way into global supply chains and our country. McGovern’s bill aims to close the loophole and prevent these products from being exported to the United States.