Despite clear division on big issues, Congress broadly agrees on China

Despite strong divisions on most major issues, Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on at least one way to deal with China.

President Joe Biden enacted a bipartisan bill just before Christmas to ban goods from China’s Xinjiang region unless companies can prove they are not made by forced labor. The House and Senate unanimously passed the measure earlier this month, showing that parties are broadly aligned with Chinese policy.

“The United States will not stand by as the Chinese Communist Party commits genocide against the Uyghurs. Our bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law, now law, will help hold China accountable by ensuring that no product made with Uyghur slave labor is sold in US markets, ”Senator Mitt said. Romney, R-Utah, in a tweet.

Romney has taken a strong stance on China, as has the entire Utah delegation in Washington. He called for an economic and diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics due to start in February, largely to protest what he calls genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities. Biden announced earlier this month that the United States would not send government officials to the 2022 Winter Games.

Representative Chris Stewart, R-Utah, called for a full US boycott of the Beijing Olympics, including barring US athletes from participating.

The new law is part of the US crackdown on China’s treatment of the Uyghur population, a Turkish-speaking Muslim group based primarily in Xinjiang province and reportedly subjected to massive persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. It bans imports from Xinjiang and imposes sanctions on foreigners responsible for forced labor in the region.

The bill was a compromise between the House and Senate versions.

The key to the measure is a “rebuttable presumption” which assumes that all goods in Xinjiang, where Beijing has established detention camps for Uyghurs and other Muslim groups, are manufactured with forced labor, according to Reuters. It bans imports unless it can be proven otherwise.

Certain products such as cotton, tomatoes and polysilicon used in the manufacture of solar panels are designated “high priority” for enforcement action.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang, a major cotton producer that also supplies much of the world’s materials for solar panels.

Its embassy in Washington said the act “ignores the truth and maliciously slanders the human rights situation in Xinjiang,” according to Reuters.

“This is a serious violation of international law and standards of international relations, and flagrant interference in China’s internal affairs. China strongly condemns it and strongly rejects it, ”embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said in an emailed statement.

He said China “would respond more in light of the development of the situation,” but did not specify.

Biden’s signing of the bill underscores “the United States’ commitment to fight forced labor, including in the context of the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“The State Department is committed to working with Congress and our interagency partners to continue to fight forced labor in Xinjiang and to strengthen international action against this blatant human rights violation,” he said. he said in a statement.

Stewart is working on bipartisan legislation to help protect American technology from falling into China’s hands. He and Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. This month introduced a bill to assess China-UAE relations in order to protect US technology and national security.

The measure would require the director of national intelligence to submit a report to the House and Senate intelligence committees containing details of Sino-UAE cooperation in defense, security, technology and other matters concerning the interests of the United States. United States national security.

“America faces ever-changing threats in an ever-changing international landscape, and none are more serious than those posed by China,” Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement. “This legislation will provide us with the information we need to most effectively defend American technology against our greatest foreign adversary.”

The United States must monitor relations between China and the United Arab Emirates, in part because China has secretly attempted to use its commercial port in the United Arab Emirates to establish a military base in the Middle East, according to members of the Congress. China halted construction of the military base after the US intervened and notified the UAE, which said it was unaware of China’s military objectives.

The UAE also continues to have strong economic ties with China.

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