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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Clean energy startup Arcadia raises $100 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Arcadia, a startup that provides people avenues to access renewable energy without having to change power companies, has raised $100 million to fuel its expansion.

Driving the news: New investors Tiger Global Management and the Drawdown Fund led the Series D round for the company founded in 2013 that has now raised $180 million overall.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
48 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

House Democrats strip Iron Dome money from government funding bill

Photographer: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Democrats on Tuesday stripped $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome defense system from its short-term government funding bill after backlash from progressives, people familiar with the decision tell Axios.

Why it matters: There has never a situation where military aid for Israel was held up because of objections from members of Congress. While the funding will get a vote in its current defense bill, the clash underscores the deep divisions within the Democratic party over Israel.