U.S. Lawmakers Agree on Uyghur Bill Aimed at Punishing China
(Bloomberg) -- House and Senate lawmakers have agreed on legislation aimed at punishing China for the alleged oppression of the Uyghur Muslims and plan to move it through Congress “as quickly as possible,” Representative Jim McGovern said in a tweet.
The Massachusetts Democrat, sponsor of the House version of the bill, said he and Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio reached agreement on a final text.
Versions of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act have passed in the House and Senate, and McGovern and Rubio, the chief Senate sponsor, have been working to iron out differences.
The House-passed version would require the U.S Department of Homeland Security to create a list of entities that collaborate with the Chinese government in the repression of the Uyghurs, a predominately Muslim ethnic minority, as well as other groups. It also contains a “rebuttable presumption” that assumes all goods were made with forced labor unless the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection gives an exception.
The legislation is sure to add to tensions between the world’s two largest economies over human rights, trade and Taiwan. The Treasury Department last week sanctioned a Chinese company -- SenseTime Group Inc. -- and two people over the alleged oppression of the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang autonomous region in western China. The U.S. also has announced it won’t send an official delegation to the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February.
Chinese officials have denied that forced labor is used in Xinjiang and called the legislation interference with China’s domestic affairs.
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