DHS blocks some Chinese clothing, hair products over forced labor allegations

US bans Chinese products believed to be made by forced labor

Also on Monday, the U.S. shelved plans for a broad import ban on cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang while announcing narrower bans on products from five specific entities.

The new WROs join a handful released over the previous year, and mark a major escalation of Trump administration efforts to punish Beijing for its treatment of the mostly Muslim Uighurs, whom the US believes are forced into working in plants and factories.

The CBP orders apply to cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Xinjiang; apparel produced by Yili Zhuowan Garment Manufacturing Co. and Baoding LYSZD Trade and Business Xinjiang; hair products made in the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park in Xinjiang; all products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center in Xinjiang; and computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Anhui Province. CBP identified forced labor indicators including abuse of vulnerability, restriction of movement, isolation, and intimidation and threats.

"Forced labor is an atrocious human rights abuse that is completely against the values that we all share", acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said as he announced the orders halting the imports in a call with reporters.

"This is not a vocational center, it is a concentration camp", said Ken Cuccinelli, the senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland.

For years, Western governments including the U.S. and Australia have avoided publicly condemning China over its human rights abuses and its detainment of muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province of northwest China.

"This is modern day slavery". All WROs are publicly available and listed by country on CBP's Forced Labor Withhold Release Orders and Findings webpage. The orders allow Customs and Border Protection to detain shipments at United States ports and gives companies the opportunity to export their shipments or demonstrate that the merchandise was not produced with forced labor.

The Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs.

"The Trump Administration has led the world in calling attention to the Chinese Communist Party's (CPC) egregious human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and we've taken action to back up our rhetoric", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

"We build the evidence one product or industry at a time", he said.

China has denied widespread and consistent reports of abuse and mistreatment of the Uyghurs and other minorities, defending the campaign as an effort to crack down on extremism.

In August, CBP issued an order to halt to imports from Shanghai-based Hero Vast Group for using prison labor to make clothing that was exported to the United States.

"Unlawful, heartless, and exploitative acts of modern slavery won't go on without serious consequences in the US supply chain", said acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan.