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The Chinese flag behind razor wire at a housing compound in China's western Xinjiang region. Photo: GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

The House on Tuesday voted 406-3 in favor of a bill to ban products made with forced labor in China's mass detention camps.

Why it matters: The U.S. has ramped up pressure recently on China to address human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government has engaged in a campaign of cultural and demographic genocide against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

  • The legislation comes after Customs and Border Protection banned some imports of cotton, apparel, hair products, computer parts and other goods from the region earlier this month.
  • The importation of products made with forced labor is already illegal under U.S. law. This bill, if passed into law, would put a greater onus on companies to proactively prove that their products are not made with forced labor in Xinjiang.

Details: The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) with a companion bill in the Senate by Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), requires corporations to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that products from China's Xinjiang region "are not made with forced labor."

  • Under the bill, the Secretary of State will be required to determine within 90 days whether the forced labor in the region is “widespread and systematic and therefore constitutes atrocities.”
  • The president would have to "identify and designate" visa or financial sanctions against any foreign person who “knowingly engages” in the forced labor in the region.

What they're saying: “Uyghurs around the world take hope from this vote,” said Uyghur Human Rights Project executive director Omer Kanat. “The Senate must also act, and all governments must enact measures to counter the Chinese government’s mass atrocities, committed on a scale not seen since World War II.”

Go deeper

Dec 5, 2019 - World

China's move on face-recognition standards

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese tech companies have ramped up efforts to set technical standards for facial recognition, raising concerns among business competitors, political observers and humanitarian advocates.

Why it matters: China has long made a systematic effort to set international standards on data and hardware compatibility across brands so that the standards reflect how Chinese products already work — giving its domestic industries a leg up in engineering races.

China is the greatest, growing threat to America

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

China has outlined strategies for 2018, 2025 and 2050 all designed to displace the United States as the dominant global economic and national security superpower.

Why it matters: While America dawdles and bickers, China is thinking long-term — and acting now, everywhere. There is no U.S. equivalent of a plan for 2025 or 2050 — or really for next year. 

Sep 1, 2020 - World

China is censoring Hollywood's imagination

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's economic carrots and sticks are putting pressure on Hollywood to produce films that might soar in the country's box office — and avoid those that may displease Beijing.

The big picture: By censoring American blockbusters, Beijing believes it can prevent American and global audiences from imagining the Chinese Communist Party as a major threat, and from viewing the targets of China's repression as victims worthy of sympathy.