The Biden administration on Tuesday issued an updated advisory to companies about the "heightened risks" of doing business in Xinjiang, China, due to human rights abuses in the region, warning that businesses that do not cease ventures there "run a high risk of violating U.S. law."
The State Department, Treasury Department, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Labor on Tuesday issued an updated "Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory" in response to the People’s Republic of China’s "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the growing evidence of its use of forced labor there."
The updated advisory highlights the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang "given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China."
"The updated advisory stresses that businesses and individuals doing business in Xinjiang do not currently have the capacity to engage in adequate due diligence, given the limitations imposed by the Chinese government," the Labor Department said Tuesday.
"Therefore, those that do not exit supply chains, ventures and/or investments connected to Xinjiang run a high risk of violating U.S. law," the Labor Department added.
Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh also slammed the human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minorities in the region as "egregious, systematic and ongoing."
"Any company doing business in this region should take heed: these are reprehensible and illegal practices, and the goods produced under these conditions have no place in the U.S. economy," Walsh said in a statement.
The Department of Labor said China’s crimes against humanity include "imprisonment, torture, rape, forced sterilization and persecution, including through forced labor and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression and freedom of movement."
In June, the U.S. Department of Labor added polysilicon produced with forced labor in China to its "List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor."
The ninth edition of the department’s list, published in September 2020, contained other products from China that have links to forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or by Uyghur workers transferred to other parts of China: cotton, garments, footwear, electronics, gloves, hair products, textiles, thread/yarn and tomato products.
The Trump administration also issued similar warnings to businesses last year.