Chinese government spokesman calls accusations of forced labour a “farce” . . .
Chinese officials accused Canada and the U.K. today of spreading lies about forced labour in Xinjiang, adding that the West has “turned a deaf ear to the facts and the truth repeatedly clarified by the Chinese.” While evidence of forced labour is mounting, including from Muslim-minority Uyghurs with first-hand experience, Chinese officials continue to deny accusations of forced labour, calling it “a farce staged by a handful of politicians.”
Canadian ministers speak out against human rights abuses . . .
The Chinese government’s reaction follows a set of co-ordinated new regulations announced on Tuesday by the Canadian and British governments to defend the rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Then-Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne and Minister of International Trade Mary Ng expressed in a joint statement concerns about human rights violations in Xinjiang and announced new regulations to ensure Canadian companies are not complicit in forced labour. The regulations include the prohibition of imports of goods involving forced labour in their production, a Xinjiang integrity declaration for Canadian companies, a business advisory on Xinjiang-related entities, and export controls.
Stricter regulations in the UK and the US . . .
The U.K. government has threatened to impose fines on companies that do not comply with its new Xinjiang regulations, something Canada has not done. In the United States, companies importing goods from Xinjiang must adhere to Withhold Release Orders and prove that their supply chain does not involve forced labour. Since tracing global supply chains is a significant challenge, this requirement is more likely to discourage imports from the region. After repeated calls for action from Canadian politicians, including the Parliamentary Committee on International Human Rights, the Government of Canada’s recognition of China’s human rights violations is a significant step. However, the new measures fall short of Magnitsky Sanctions called for by the parliamentary committee or stricter measures imposed in the U.S. and the U.K.