The United States on Tuesday banned imports from three Chinese companies on accusations they use the forced labor of Uyghur minority Muslims. Photo by Wu Hong/EPA-EFE
Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The Biden administration has banned imports from three more Chinese companies, as it cracks down on the use of forced labor of the Asian nation's minority Uyghur population in the U.S. supply chain.
The United States has accused China of committing genocide against its Uyghur Muslim population in the northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where Beijing is estimated to have interned about a million of them in concentration camps since 2017.
While China denies the accusations, stating the Uyghurs are being held in re-education facilities in order to stamp out extremism, the United States maintains they are being arbitrarily imprisoned and subjected to forced sterilization, torture and labor as well as draconian restrictions on freedom of religion, expression and movement.
According to a report produced Friday by the Congressional Research Service, Uyghurs are pressured by the Chinese government to work in textile, apparel, agricultural, consumer, electronics and other labor-intensive industries, with those who refuse punished with detention and other measures.
Effective Wednesday, goods produced by the three companies Xinjiang Zhongtai Group, Xinjiang Tianshan Wool Textile and Xinjiang Tianmian Foundation Textile will be restricted from entering the United States.
"We do not tolerate companies that use forced labor, that abuse the human rights of individuals in order to make a profit," Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
"The Department of Homeland Security and its partners across the Biden-Harris administration will continue to prosecute these companies, fight for the rights of the abused, and work towards the elimination of Uyghur forced labor in the People's Republic of China."
The United States has restricted imports from 27 countries since the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was signed into effect by President Joe Biden in December 2021 that bans goods produced in Xinjiang or by identified companies.
According to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security, since the law went into effect in June 2022, a total 5,346 shipments worth more than $1.8 billion have been reviewed by CBP agents, of which 2,325 were denied.
From 2019 to 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection blocked the importation of goods suspected to have been produced by Xinjiang forced labor under the Tariff Act of 1930, the CRS report said.
The United States has also imposed sanctions against Chinese officials deemed responsible for the human rights abuses being committed against their Uyghur citizens.
The move on Tuesday comes after the Biden administration banned the importation of two China-based companies in early August.