Washington sanctions Chinese solar company for using forced labour in Xinjiang

About 45 per cent of the polysilicon used in the world comes from Xinjiang. A US ban also targets three other Chinese companies and a paramilitary firm. At the UN Human Rights Council, more than 40 countries condemn China's repressive policies against Uyghurs, Hong Kong democrats and Tibetan Buddhists, sparking a reaction from Beijing.


WASHINGTON (AsiaNews) – The Biden administration imposed a ban yesterday US imports of solar panel material from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co, which US authorities accuse of using forced labour.

The ban mainly concerns polysilicon, a key material in the production of solar panel production. According to Reuters, 45 per cent of polysilicon used worldwide in solar module production comes from Xinjiang, with another 35 per cent produced in other parts of China.

For the same reason, the US Department of Commerce banned sales of US products to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies operating in Xinjiang, and paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

According to experts and humanitarian organisations, backed by the United Nations, China holds or has held more than a million Turkic-speaking Muslim Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in Xinjiang concentration camps.

Media reports have highlighted the existence of the region’s labour camps, with hundreds of thousands of people forcibly employed, especially picking cotton.

Some scholars also claim that the Chinese government is conducting a campaign of forced sterilisations to control the growth of the Uyghur population.

China has denied such accusations, claiming that the camps in Xinjiang are vocational centres, part of a number of projects designed to reduce poverty and fight terrorism and separatism.

On Tuesday, the second day of the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, more than 40 countries signed a resolution condemning Beijing's repressive policies in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet.

Presented by Canada, the resolution was backed, among others, by Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Israel, Japan and Australia.

The signatories of the document call on the Chinese government to put an end to the use of “arbitrary detention” in Xinjiang and allow an independent UN investigation in the region.

The Chinese responded with a statement accusing Ottawa of committing human rights violations against Canada's Indigenous population.

Countries such as Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Syria and Venezuela have supported China’s initiative.

In another motion, 65 states expressed support for Beijing by saying that Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet are China's internal affairs.

Yesterday, the Chinese delegation to the UN Human Rights Committee also attacked the US, Australia and Britain for their inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees.