Democrats Blocking Senate Bill That Bans Imports Made With Uyghur Slave Labor
GOP China hawks are lashing out at Senate Democrats for their latest “concessions to the Chinese Communist Party” – which also threatens to halt Congressional approval for the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act.
Sen. Marco Rubio wants to see a “controversial” amendment added, which his office is saying Dems are blocking based on false pretenses based on procedural issues, that would ban any imports from China that are suspected of being produced with Uyghur slave labor. However supporters say it shouldn’t be a source of controversy at all given several human rights groups support it, and it should be consistent with the Biden administration’s general human rights stance on China. “Today we have American corporations using slaves in China,” Sen. Rubio told Fox News on Thursday, highlighting the fundamental issue.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act targets “Goods manufactured or produced in Xinjiang” which “shall not be entitled to entry into the United States unless Customs and Border Protection (1) determines that the goods were not manufactured by convict labor, forced labor, or indentured labor under penal sanctions; and (2) reports such a determination to Congress and to the public,” according to the bill summary.
The action springs from widespread reports over the past couple years that the Chinese state has placed some one million ethnic Uyghur Muslims in a network of Communist ‘reeducation’ and forced labor camps. Beijing officials have admitted to the existence of such facilities, but while US leaders have condemned the “slave camps” – China’s government has presented them as merely tantamount to job training and assistance programs, or a halfway house of sorts.
According to details of a last minute blockage of the human rights amendment, the Free Beacon writes, “But Democrats excluded the amendment from a vote late Wednesday night, after members of the party privately objected to it, sources told the Free Beacon. Earlier in the evening, Democrats tried to use a procedural mechanism that would have allowed a vote on the act but stripped it from the final appropriations bill, according to a hotline memo from Senate leadership.
Ironically, the move appears connected to the Biden admin trying to preserve it’s futile “climate agenda”, which in the end will sacrifice the United States’ human rights stance in China:
The pushback from Senate Democrats comes amid efforts by senior Biden administration officials to quietly kill the bill over concerns it will hinder the White House’s climate agenda and limit solar panel imports from China. Presidential climate envoy John Kerry, among others, has been lobbying House members against the bill, the Free Beacon reported last month.
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) December 2, 2021
However, each side is now blaming the other amid conflicting accounts of precisely why it’s being blocked, with Democrat leaders downplaying their actions as merely based on technicalities, blaming improper Republican procedural methods and rule-breaking.
Importantly, as the report underscores of the Uyghur dominant Xinjiang province, “The region is also the world’s largest producer of solar panel components, an industry that human rights groups say is rife with Uyghur slave labor.”
Thu, 12/02/2021 – 19:00