Jun 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. bans some Chinese solar imports over Xinjiang forced labor

President Joe Biden speaks on gun crime prevention measures as Attorney General Merrick Garland looks on.

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday banned imports of solar materials from a Chinese firm accused of using forced labor in China's Xinjiang region.

Why it matters: It represents an escalation of pressure against China over allegations of forced labor and genocide in a region that produces large amounts of silicon-based materials.

  • The State Department has accused the Chinese government of carrying out a sweeping campaign of mass detention, surveillance, forced labor and forced assimilation of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
  • China dominates the supply chain for solar energy equipment, per Politico.

The U.S. is also restricting exports to five Chinese companies allegedly involved in human rights violations.

  • The firms — Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan); Xinjiang Daqo New Energy; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals; Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology, and XPCC — are large producers of polysilicon for solar panels.

What they're saying: "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," the White House said in a statement.

  • "The United States will not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains and will continue to stand up for our values and for U.S. workers and businesses."

Go deeper: State Department fears Chinese threats to forced labor auditors

Go deeper