UK clamps down on Xinjiang labor camps, accusing China of ‘torture’ and ‘barbarism’

Dominic Raab, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs walks in Downing Street on September 3, 2019 in London, England.

Leon Neal | Getty Images News | Getty Images

LONDON — The U.Ok. has launched new measures to root out the presence of alleged pressured labor in China’s Xinjiang area in British provide chains.

China is accused of extrajudicially detaining over 1 million Uighur Muslims and different minorities in political re-education camps within the northwestern autonomous area, together with invasive surveillance, restrictions on Uighur tradition and the use of pressured labor.

China staunchly denies the allegations, claiming that the facilities are aimed toward combating extremism and encouraging the event of vocational abilities.

Companies with annual turnover of greater than £36 million ($49.2 million) that fail to reveal enough due diligence in making certain their provide chains are free from pressured labor below the Modern Slavery Act, will now be topic to fines, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab introduced within the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“We must make sure that U.K. businesses are not part of the supply chains that lead to the gates of the internment camps in Xinjiang, and to make sure that the products of human rights violations that take place in those camps do not end up on the shelves of supermarkets that we shop in here at home, week in, week out,” Raab stated.

The authorities can even provoke an pressing evaluate into export controls to forestall exports which may help in human rights abuses, concern new steerage to companies working within the area, and lengthen the Modern Slavery Act to the general public sector, barring any firm proven to have pressured labor ties from public procurement contracts.

‘Truly horrific’

Raab’s measures stopped quick of sanctioning particular person Chinese officers over their involvement within the alleged atrocities, and Labour’s shadow overseas secretary, Lisa Nandy, claimed her counterpart had not gone far sufficient, likening Raab’s actions to “tinkering around the edges.”

The presence of pressured labor in worldwide provide chains has been the goal of a quantity of main governments in recent times. In late 2020, a number of U.S. corporations got here below fireplace for allegedly lobbying to weaken a bipartisan invoice banning imports from Xinjiang.

“Some U.S. politicians have concocted disinformation of so-called ‘forced labor’ in order to restrict and oppress relevant parties and enterprises in China as well as contain China’s development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying advised CNBC in December.

“All ethnic groups in Xinjiang choose their occupations according to their own will and sign ‘labor contracts’ of their own volition in accordance with law on the basis of equality.”

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