The US Senate passed a bill to ban the import of products from China’s Xinjiang region, the latest measure to pressure Beijing for what Washington sees as abuses against the Muslim Uighur community.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law, which the Upper House unanimously passed on Wednesday night, seeks to ban the import of products made through forced labor allegedly used in that northwestern region of China.
The bill was sent for consideration by the House of Representatives.
“The message for Beijing and any international company that benefits from forced labor in Xinjiang is clear: no more,” Republican Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement.
The United States banned the import of solar panel materials from a Chinese company in late June and imposed trade restrictions on four others for alleged use of forced labor from Xinjiang.
And last week it imposed sanctions on 34 companies and other entities related to the Chinese military and policy towards the Uighur minority, as well as facilitating exports to Russia and Iran.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with survivors of the Xinjiang forced labor camps last week in Washington.
Human rights organizations say that at least one million Uighurs and other minorities, mostly Muslim, are prisoners in forced labor camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilizing women.
Beijing denies those accusations and insists its policies in Xinjiang are necessary to counter violent extremism.