US bans imports of material from Chinese company linked to forced labour camps in Xinjiang

Washington [US], June 25 (ANI): The United States banned imports of solar panels and other goods made with materials produced by a Chinese company Hoshine Silicon Industry Co after the company’s plants were linked to forced labour camps in China’s Xinjiang region targeting Uyghurs and other minorities.

Washington Post reported that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a statement on Thursday (local time) barring silicon-based products from the company, Hoshine Silicon, which operates from plants in Xinjiang that have been connected to coercive state labour programs targeting Uyghurs and other minorities.

According to CBP officials, the ban applies to solar panels containing Hoshine materials. Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees CBP, suggested that the order could also apply to products beyond solar panels, though agency officials didn’t immediately provide more detail on that.

“Silica is a raw material that is used to make components for solar panels, electronics and other goods,” Mayorkas said. “This order was issued because CBP has information reasonably indicating that Hoshine uses forced labor to produce its silica-based products.”

The US-based Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said America imported more than eight billion dollars in solar panels in 2020. By banning only Hoshine imports, CBP stopped short of targeting Xinjiang producers of another key solar ingredient, polysilicon. Those producers have also been connected to coercive labour programs targeting Uyghurs.

Earlier, the US announced measures to address the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ongoing human rights abuses and use of forced labour in Xinjiang. The Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, and Department of Labour announced these measures.

“We will continue to work with our partners and allies to promote accountability for the PRC government’s use of forced labour as well as its genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, said Ned Price, US Department of State spokesperson.

“We stand with our allies around the world in calling for an immediate end to the PRC’s crimes and to justice for the many victims,” added Price.

On Wednesday, the US has put five Chinese companies on its Entity List that restricts their ability to receive exports, over human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang province.

“Specifically, the (authority) determined that Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology; Xinjiang Daqo New Energy; Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals; Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan); and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps are engaging in activities contrary to the foreign policy interests of the US through participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labour,” the US Commerce Department said.

The five companies will have additional license requirements and limited availability of most license exceptions for exports, re-exports and transfers to them. This latest action comes amid rising tension between the two countries over issues including human rights violations, trade and China’s military aggression.

Back in April, the US had restricted trade with top Chinese supercomputing centers, as these capabilities can be used for the development of modern weapons and national security systems. (ANI)