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Forced-Labor Allegations Spur US Ban Against Chinese Company

The White House announced Thursday it will detain imports from a silicon manufacturer accused of using forced labor in Xinjiang, China, to make a key ingredient for photovoltaic cells on solar panels.

The White House announced Thursday it will detain imports from a silicon manufacturer accused of using forced labor in Xinjiang, China, to make a key ingredient for photovoltaic cells on solar panels.

During a hearing in London on Friday, June 4, 2021, Omir Bekali shows a people's tribunal how he was shackled when he was arrested and placed in a Chinese re-education camp where he says he was tortured. (Screenshot via Courthouse News)

WASHINGTON (CN) — A Chinese manufacturer of a key solar panel ingredient is no longer welcome in the U.S. marketplace, the Biden administration said Thursday, taking a stand against forced-labor allegations in Xinjiang.

The White House said it would cut off imports of polysilicon from Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., which is based in a part of China whose largely Muslim ethnic minority, called the Uyghur, face torture and inhumane conditions. Chinese authorities defend their use of forced sterilization in the region as emancipating women whom one embassy official referred to in a tweet as "baby-making machines." The Chinese government allegedly subjects men and women to forced labor, makes them live in concentration camps and separates children from their parents.

Hoshine Silicon's ban is in keeping with commitments the president made this month at the G7 Summit in the United Kingdom “to ensure global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor," the White House said in a statement.

“The United States believes that state-sponsored forced labor in Xinjiang is both an affront to human dignity and an example of the PRC’s unfair economic practices," the statement continues.

Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customer and Border Protections unit will begin to detain shipments containing silica-based products made by Hoshine as well as other goods made from its silica-based products — unless it is proved that the products were not made with forced labor. The Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor will also be involved in restricting exports from the company and putting it on America's “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.”

The U.S. State Department labeled China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims a genocide earlier this year and more recently placed Hoshine Silicon and four other companies on a trade blacklist.

In testimony before the London People’s Tribunal earlier this month, a group of Uyghurs offered firsthand accounts of what is going on inside the Xinjiang region's so-called “re-education camps.”

China's crackdown on Uyghurs, a large ethnic Turkic group and followers of Islam who are mostly concentrated in far western China, is part of a decades-long effort to stamp out what it says are terrorist activities by Uyghur groups seeking to carve out an independent state from China.

The Biden administration reiterated Thursday that it is taking a stand against such behavior.

“The PRC’s use of forced labor in Xinjiang is an integral part of its systematic abuses against the Uyghur population and other ethnic and religious minority groups, and addressing these abuses will remain a high priority for the Biden-Harris administration,” the White House said. “The systematic abuses go beyond forced labor to include sexual violence and large-scale forced detentions, and the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”

The other company’s placed on the trade blacklist were the Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co., Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co., Xinjiang GCL New Energy Materials Technology Co., and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps — all of whom are polysilicon product manufacturers.

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