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WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are issuing a joint advisory urging U.S. companies to monitor their activities in China, particularly in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government is harshly repressing its own people and is committing human rights abuses.
This advisory warns U.S. businesses, individuals, academic institutions, service providers, investors and others that choose to operate in Xinjiang or engage with entities that use labor or goods from Xinjiang will face reputational, economic, and legal risks associated with certain types of involvement with entities that engage in human rights abuses.
The advisory details the abuses: “The PRC government in Xinjiang has, since at least March 2017, detained for indefinite periods more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in internment camps designed to eradicate detainees’ cultural and religious identities, and to indoctrinate them with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ideology. Detainees describe extreme overcrowding, sleep and food deprivation, medical neglect, physical and psychological abuse (including what they describe as torture), forced labor, forced ingestion of unidentified drugs, sexual abuse, forced abortions, forced birth control, sterilization, forced renunciation of religion, denial of prayer and other religious practices (including pressure to consume pork or alcohol), denial of the use of their native languages, and being forced to study and recite CCP propaganda. There is evidence that some have died in the internment camps, or very shortly after release, as a result of abuse and neglect. These abuses are now believed to have spread beyond Xinjiang, with credible reports claiming that victims are currently being sent to other provinces and subjected to forced labor and other abusive labor conditions.”
“Given the kind of atrocities going on in China at the hands of the PRC, every U.S. business needs to review the advisory and thoroughly evaluate their business activities and should examine the impact this exportation of forced labor has on their supply chains and more importantly, their reputations,” said Acting Deputy Secretary of DHS, Ken Cuccinelli.
DHS will take increased enforcement action against businesses in the U.S. who violate the law by contributing to human rights abuses in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. DHS Customs & Border Protection will continue to issue trade prohibitions on goods produced with forced labor imported into the United States from China, especially Xinjiang. DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations is actively investigating companies and corporate officials who knowingly benefit from forced labor in Xinjiang.
For more information, see the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory.