The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill banning the import of most of the goods produced in Xinjiang, which French President Emmanuel Macron called for an international mission to visit, in light of concerns about the Muslim Uighur minority.
In a rare near-consensus in the House of Representatives deeply divided between a democratic majority and a republican minority, 406 lawmakers supported the bill, while only 3 deputies voted against it. The text still needs to be approved in the Senate, before it is referred to President Donald Trump for approval in order for it to take effect.
The Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims who make up the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang, the vast and autonomous region in northwestern China.
The United States, other Western countries and several international organizations accuse the Chinese authorities of committing widespread violations against the Uyghurs, and of detaining more than a million Muslims in Xinjiang in concentration camps.
The bill would prohibit all imports from Xinjiang except for those where there is “clear and convincing evidence” for US Customs that they are not the result of forced labor.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Tuesday for an international mission supervised by the United Nations to visit Xinjiang, China, in light of concerns about the Muslim Uyghur minority.
UN experts and activists say at least 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims are being held in detention centers in Xinjiang. China describes them as training centers that help eradicate terrorism and extremism, and those in them gain new skills.
“Fundamental rights are not a Western idea that anyone can oppose as interference,” Macron said in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “The principles of our organization are enshrined in texts that UN member states have freely agreed to sign and respect.”
“This is why France requested that an international mission supervised by the United Nations go to Xinjiang, in order to take into account the concerns that we collectively have about the Muslim Uighur minority,” he added.