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Daniel Kildee

12/08/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/08/2021 19:15

Kildee Bill to Address China’s Human Rights Abuses Passes House

WASHINGTON-Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, today applauded the passage of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, supported by Democrats and Republicans, to address China's human rights abuses. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would block all goods from Xinjiang region being imported to the U.S. unless there is clear and convincing evidence that specific goods were not made with forced labor.

"Michigan workers can compete with anyone if they are given a level playing field," said Congressman Kildee. "Unfortunately, the Chinese communist government continues to use unfair trade practices and brutally oppress minorities, including using the Uyghur people as slave labor. These human rights abuses are completely unacceptable and are also giving Chinese products an unfair competitive advantage. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that products coming from China are not made with forced labor, leveling the playing field for Michigan workers and upholding our democratic values. When it comes to trade, we cannot allow nations with gross human rights violations like China to profit from forced labor at the expense of the American worker."

It is estimated that up to 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Hui, and other predominately Muslim ethnic minorities have been arbitrarily detained in a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps in China, where they are subjected to forced labor, torture, and political indoctrination. Individuals detained in internment camps are also forced to produce goods, such as polysilicon, that directly compete goods made by Michigan workers.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would:

  • Create a change to existing import rules to assume goods made in Xinjiang are made with forced labor, thereby blocking their importation to the U.S. unless their manufacturer can provide "clear and convincing" evidence of the contrary;
  • Authorize President Biden to apply targeted visa and asset sanctions on any person responsible for the labor trafficking of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities;
  • Direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to address forced labor in the Xinjiang;
  • Require publicly traded companies to disclose the following in their quarterly and annual reports: any engagement with entities building or running detention facilities and developing or providing surveillance systems in Xinjiang, engagement with any persons subject to U.S. sanctions, or responsible for, or complicit in, committing atrocities in Xinjiang.

Congressman Kildee has long advocated for more aggressive sanctions to combat China's unfair trade practices and protect Michigan jobs. On October 27, 2020, Kildee sent a letter to then U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, asking the Trump administration to enforce the Phase One Agreement. Kildee successfully urged the Biden administration to have U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stop products made with forced labor from entering the U.S., resulting in the confiscation of silica-based products made by forced labor in Xinjiang.

A similar version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which Congressman Kildee also supported, passed the House last Congress by a vote of 406-3, demonstrating the strong bipartisan behind this kind of legislation.