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A tractor sowing cotton seeds on April 5 in Xinjiang. Photo: VCG via Getty Images

U.S. Customs and Border Protection issued a series of orders on Monday barring some imports of cotton, apparel, hair products, computer parts and other goods from China's Xinjiang region due to the government's "illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor."

Why it matters: The Trump administration is taking an increasingly aggressive approach to human rights abuses in Xinjiang, where the Chinese government is engaged in a sweeping campaign of demographic and cultural genocide against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Details: The CBP orders apply to the following imports ...

  1. All products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang
  2. Hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park in Xinjiang
  3. Apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co., Ltd. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Co., Ltd in Xinjiang
  4. Cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co., Ltd. in Xinjiang
  5. Computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co., Ltd. in Anhui

What they're saying: "The Trump administration will not stand idly by and allow foreign companies to subject vulnerable workers to forced labor while harming American businesses that respect human rights and the rule of law,” Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said in a statement.

  • “Today’s Withhold Release Orders send a clear message to the international community that we will not tolerate the illicit, inhumane, and exploitative practices of forced labor in U.S. supply chains.”

The big picture: President Trump told Axios in June that he previously held off on sanctioning officials and entities involved in the detention camps because doing so would have interfered with his trade deal with Beijing.

  • In July, the U.S. sanctioned Chinese Communist Party officials, the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) for their role in constructing and operating massive "re-education" camps, where over 1 million Uighurs have been detained.
  • The XPCC, a paramilitary organization, is involved in the production of one-third of China's cotton, and in 2014, XPCC-controlled interests comprised 17% of Xinjiang's economy.

Go deeper: U.S. seizes $800,000 shipment of Xinjiang products made with human hair

Go deeper

Oct 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden's China plan: Bring allies

Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden is planning to confront China across the globe, embracing some of President Trump's goals but rejecting his means.

The big picture: By starting a trade war with China, Trump has fundamentally altered the U.S.- China relationship — and forced both Republicans and Democrats to accept a more confrontational approach towards Beijing.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.