London: Embargo on Xinjiang Forced Labour Products

Restrictions will also be introduced on the export of technology used to repress Uyghur and Kazakh Muslims. Beijing targeted for its internment system and labour camps. Tense relations between the two countries also due to the events in Hong Kong. The UK is not the first state to impose restrictions on human rights violations in China.

London (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This week the British government will announce a ban on imports of goods from Xinjiang suspected of being produced through the use of forced labour this week.

British media announced the move today, under which Boris Johnson’s executive will also introduce restriction to the export of technology that could be used by the Chinese regime to repress the Muslim minority.

Recent press revelations have highlighted the existence of labour camps in Xinjiang, where hundreds of thousands of Muslims are reportedly employed by force, mainly in the cotton harvest. China produces 20% of the world's cotton, most of it in Xinjiang.

In addition, Beijing is accused of having organized a system of internment camps to keep the Uyghur and Kazakh populations under control. Data collected by experts and confirmed by the United Nations estimates that over a million Uyghurs and other Turkish-speaking minorities of Islamic faith are arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, which the local population calls "East Turkestan". The Chinese deny all charges, arguing that they are vocational training centers and poverty reduction projects.

The measure prepared by the British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab provides for fines for companies that fail to adequately verify the origin of their imports from Xinjiang. However, the law does not include sanctions for Chinese leaders linked to prison systems, labor camps and forced sterilizations.

London's move is destined to further strain relations with the Asian giant. For a couple of years, the British government has been on the run with the Chinese government to crack down on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Beijing’s irritation has grown especially after the British offered citizenship to residents of the former colony who intend to flee abroad.

But the UK is not the first state to impose trade restrictions with Xinjiang. In December, the Trump administration banned imports of cotton produced by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a semi-military organization that covers 30% of the Chinese market in the sector.

Last September, Swedish clothing giant H&M broke off relations with a cotton producer suspected of exploiting Uyghur prisoners. The fashion company has specified that it will no longer take yarns or raw materials from Xinjiang.