US puts 3 sectors in Xinjiang in crosshairs to 'strangle China in global supply chain'
Published: Jul 10, 2024 08:04 PM
Slandering Xinjiang -- the new normal of the empire of lies Illustration: Vitaly Podvitski

Slandering Xinjiang -- the new normal of the "empire of lies" Illustration: Vitaly Podvitski

The US Department of Homeland Security has put three more industries - aluminum, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and seafood - in its crosshairs as it ramps up enforcement of the so-called Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

This "infamous bill" enacted in 2021, and numerous actions stemming from it share a malicious purpose of smearing China's Xinjiang policy and strangling China in the global supply chain, analysts said on Wednesday. 

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claims these industries have been identified as high priority sectors for enforcement due to risks of so-called forced labor or state labor transfer, according to the department's website on Tuesday. It also continues to designate apparel, cotton and cotton products, silica-based products including polysilicon, and tomatoes and downstream products as high priority sectors.

The UFLPA was signed into law in December 2021, with a problematic presumption that any product made with materials sourced from China's Xinjiang region involves forced labor unless a company can prove otherwise. 

Leading a cross-department Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF), the DHS originally published its strategy on the enforcement of the law in June 2022. 

Before the updated strategy released on Tuesday, the DHS added three Chinese companies in newly targeted sectors to an entity list in June, namely Shandong Meijia Group, Dongguan Oasis Shoes and Xinjiang Shenhuo Coal and Electricity, broadening the blacklist to 68 companies whose goods are restricted from entering the US. DHS officials have said they intend to expand the list in coming months.

The three "priority sectors" newly entering the crosshairs of Washington are key industries in Xinjiang's economic structure, analysts said, adding that aluminum is related to automobile production, while PVC manufacturing is part of petrochemical engineering, another pillar of Xinjiang's industry. 

Seafood is a sector developing at a fast pace in Xinjiang region, with its salty underground water and lakes providing an environment similar to the ocean. Official data show that aquatic produce in Xinjiang increased 6.3 percent to 184,000 tons. 

Other "sectors of advantage" in Xinjiang region, namely cotton, textiles and photovoltaic components, have been targeted since the beginning. 

According to the US DHS, entities in designated sectors will be prioritized for review by the FLETF for a variety of enforcement actions: inclusion on the UFLPA Entity List, export limitations, economic sanctions and visa restrictions. 

Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times the US' real intention is to curb Xinjiang's development and economic opportunities, and using the Xinjiang region to smear China's international image and contain economic growth.

The continuous expansion of the US suppression under the excuse of "preventing forced labor" is aimed at disrupting and restructuring the global industrial chain, attempting to eliminate or marginalize China, and maintaining all core elements of globalization under US control, Li said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry previously revealed that the UFLPA does not prevent "forced labor," but creates "forced unemployment." The act does not protect human rights, but undermines the right to subsistence, employment and development of people in Xinjiang in the name of human rights. 

The US enforcement of the so-called UFLPA on the basis of the "forced labor" lie is detrimental to international trade rules and the stability of global industrial and supply chains. The move to blacklist Chinese entities and go after more Chinese companies is aimed at undermining Xinjiang’s prosperity and stability and containing China’s development. We condemn and reject this and will take strong measures to firmly safeguard Chinese companies’ lawful rights and interests, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.