Washington, DC — Over the past weeks, Rep. Ron Kind voted for bipartisan bills to combat human rights abuses and forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act would ban all goods produced wholly, or in part, in Xinjiang from the United States unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection can determine by clear and convincing evidence that the good was not produced with forced labor. The Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act would require U.S.-traded companies that do business in Xinjiang to disclose information about their supply chains, including whether goods are produced in or sourced from internment camps or factories that are involved in forced labor.
It’s estimated that over 1.5 million people have been arbitrarily detained, forced into mass internment camps, and subjected to abuse and forced labor as part of a Chinese-government-run system of oppression targeting Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. In its 2019 Annual Report, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China found that all kinds of goods such as textiles, electronics, food products, shoes, tea, and handicrafts, have been produced through forced labor programs that exist within the mass internment camps in Xinjiang.
“It’s untenable that more than a million people have been detained, trafficked and subjected to inhumane treatment by the Chinese government in Xinjiang,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “As a nation, we need to take action and stand united in condemning forced labor and the abuses being committed against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. It’s critical that the United States continues to promote human rights around the globe – I am proud that the House of Representatives has sent a clear, bipartisan message that we remain committed to doing just that.”
Rep. Kind has consistently worked towards raising labor standards and has fought to eradicate the importation of goods made by forced, slave, or child labor from the United States. He was instrumental in getting the Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 passed, which included Rep. Kind’s bill to close a 75-year-old loophole that allowed products made by forced labor to enter the United States. Building on that critical victory, Rep. Kind spent years ensuring that the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA) included increased labor standards and is fully enforceable. The USMCA now has some of the strongest labor provisions, and specifically requires all parties to take measures to prohibit the importation of goods produced by forced labor.
Rep. Kind serves on the Subcommittee on Trade for the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful – and the oldest – committee in the House of Representatives. It has jurisdiction over tax measures, the management of public debt, trade and tariff laws, Social Security, Medicare, pensions, and many other economic growth measures.