March 11 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bill to place greater restrictions on imports from China's Xinjiang region, citing concerns about forced labor in the area.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers including six Democrats and five Republicans in the House and one Republican and two Democrats in the Senate introduced the legislation following a series of studies and reports documenting how inhabitants of Xinjiang, particularly members of the Muslim Uyghur and Kazakh minorities, have been recruited into forced labor.
Import of goods made under forced labor are prohibited under U.S. law but the bill would make it so that only goods from Xinjiang with "clear and convincing evidence" showing they did not involve forced labor would be permitted to be imported.
The bill would require businesses to provide evidence that each item it produces had an untainted chain of production.
A report from the Congressional-Executive Commission on China that accompanied the release of the bill said that the global supply chains are "increasingly at risk of being tainted with goods and products made with forced labor" from Xinjiang and recommended a comprehensive import ban on goods from the region.
The report noted that brands such as Nike, H&M, Espirit, Addidas and Calvin Klein may have been at least partially sourced from forced labor facilities in Xinjiang.
"Forced labor exists both within the system of mass internment camps and throughout the region and is confirmed by the testimony of former camp detainees, satellite imagery and recently leaked Chinese government documents," the report stated.