Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Biden signs bill on forced labor in China, ALS research | Nation World News

WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – President Joe Biden signed a bill into law Thursday to block imports from China’s Xinjiang region Unless businesses can prove the items were made without bonded labor, the latest in a series of intensifying US penalties against an Asian power for alleged misconduct.

The measure had to overcome some initial hesitation from the White House as well as corporate opposition, before being passed in the Senate last week for final passage, followed by the first House. Biden also signed a separate bill Thursday for research into a treatment for Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Today, I signed the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act”, Biden said on TwitterWith a photo of him signing the legislative text on his desk in the Oval Office. “The United States will continue to use every tool at our disposal to ensure that the supply chain from Xinjiang and other parts of China is free from the use of forced labor.”

The new law is the latest in a series of efforts by the US to toughen up with China over the alleged systemic and widespread abuse of ethnic and religious minorities in its western region, particularly Xinjiang’s Muslim Uighurs.

It requires US government agencies to expand surveillance of China’s use of forced labor by ethnic minorities. Importantly, this creates an assumption that goods coming from Xinjiang are made by forced labor. Businesses must prove that forced labor, including workers relocated from Xinjiang, was not used in the manufacture of the product before it would be allowed in the US

The House and Senate passed the measure with overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans.

Until a vote by the Senate last week, the White House said Biden supported the measure. In the months following the announcement, the White House declined to take a public stand on the earlier version of the measure, despite repeated inquiries.

The United States says China is committing genocide in its treatment of Uighurs. This includes widespread reports of forced sterilization by rights groups and journalists, and large detention camps, where many Uighurs are reportedly forced to work in factories.

China denies any abuse and says the steps it has taken are necessary to combat terrorism and the separatist movement.

The US cites components of raw cotton, gloves, tomato products, silicone and viscose, fishing gear and solar power as among the goods allegedly produced using forced labor in Xinjiang, a There is a resource-rich mining area which is important for agricultural production. The region is also a rapidly growing industrial area.

The US says detainees are also taken outside Xinjiang and put to work in factories, which include the apparel and textile, electronics, solar power and automotive sectors.

Some large corporations lobbied against the measure. Apple, such as Nike and other companies producing in China, said it had found no sign of forced labor in its manufacturing or supply chain from Xinjiang.

Uighur rights advocates and others also feared private opposition from within the Biden administration as the US sought Chinese cooperation on climate change and other issues.

In a statement last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki referred to export controls and import restrictions, sanctions, diplomatic initiatives and other measures the administration had already taken targeting forced labor from Xinjiang.

The White House also recently announced that it would diplomatically boycott the upcoming Winter Olympics in Beijing, citing China’s “serious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang”. US athletes will be allowed to compete under a diplomatic boycott, but the president and other US dignitaries will not travel to the Games, which open in February.

While Biden privately signed the Uighur bill, the White House arranged a public signing ceremony – with guests participating remotely – for quick access to the Critical Remedies for ALS Act,

Law would funnel $100 million annually Between 2022 and 2026 in research into Lou Gehrig’s disease, an incurable neurodegenerative disorder, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and similar diseases. This grant will also program and provide early access to promising treatments for patients that are not accepted into clinical trials.

Biden said, “There has been no escape from ALS for a very long time, but this bill may bring us closer to replacing it.”

The ALS is named after a New York Yankees baseball player who retired in 1939 due to the disease. Gehrig died in 1941.

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Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe contributed to this report.

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Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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