Five companies or industrial parks in Xinjiang and a company in eastern Anhui Province, which manufactures clothing, cotton, computer and hair products, are named in the new order by US Customs and Border Protection (US CBP).
One of Xinjiang’s “vocational training centers” is also named after the order, a name used euphemistically by Beijing to refer to the large retraining camps where inmates of Muslim minorities are allegedly detained, made to promise loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party and work as free or cheap forced labor in factories and nearby facilities.
“This is not a business center, this is a concentration camp,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official in charge of the Vice President̵
The agency issued “detention release orders” for all six Chinese units aimed at preventing goods suspected of being manufactured by forced labor from entering the United States. The decrees allow customs and border protection to detain shipments in U.S. ports and allow companies to export their shipments or demonstrate that the goods were not produced by forced labor.
The new US actions were below what some had expected to be a more widespread ban on imports from China, which would have targeted all cotton and tomato products exported from the Xinjiang region to the US. Cuccinelli said stronger action was still under review by the U.S. administration.
“Because of its unique nature, which applies to a region as opposed to a company or plant, we provide the more legal analysis,” he said, adding that the agency wants to ensure “when we continue that it will stick. . “
Cuccinelli denied that the delay in the regional order had anything to do with concerns about damaging the US-China trade agreement.
American action on Xinjiang
The US trade deal is the latest in a series of steps by the Trump administration targeting Chinese authorities and companies over allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang.
Up to 2 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have been imprisoned in mass education centers, including a large number of Uyghur people, according to the U.S. State Department, with reports from the camps of abuse, indoctrination and sterilization.
The Chinese government has described the centers as volunteers and part of a far-reaching deradicalization campaign.
Recently, the US CBP has increased its efforts against forced labor – the issuance of 12 orders in the financial year 2020, including eight focusing on goods from China.
The new orders targeting forced labor in China followed two years of investigation by the US CBP, according to Mark Morgan, the senior official in charge of the commissioner’s duties in the US CBP.
“It’s been the most aggressive year in the use of CBP’s authorities to combat forced labor in its history that I know of,” Cuccinelli said.