US puts block on Chinese products from Uighur "forced labour"


The US announced on Monday that it would block a range of Chinese products made by "forced labour" in the Xinjiang region, including from a "vocational" centre that it branded a "concentration camp" for Uighur minorities.

"The Chinese government is engaged in systematic abuses against the Uighur people" and other minorities, said Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection agency. "Forced labour is an atrocious human rights abuse," he said.

The items include cotton, garments, hair products and electronics from five specific manufacturers in Xinjiang as well as adjacent Anhui. It also included all products tied to the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang, which Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said was a centre of forced labour.

"This is not a vocational centre, it is a concentration camp, a place where religious and ethnic minorities are subject to abuse and forced to work in heinous conditions with no recourse and no freedom," Cuccinelli told reporters. "This is modern day slavery."

The actions announced consisted of "withhold release orders" or WROs, which empower the CBP to seize products from the blacklisted companies and organisations.

The US government is increasingly using such orders to pressure Beijing over its detention of more than one million members of the mostly Muslim Uighur minority in Xinjiang for ostensible re-education. (AFP)

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