Trade Sanctions on Use of Forced Labor in China

From Reuters:

The Biden administration on Wednesday ordered a ban on U.S. imports of a key solar panel material from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co (603260.SS) over forced labor allegations, said two sources briefed on the matter.

The U.S. Commerce Department separately restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), saying they were involved with the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

The three other companies added to the U.S. economic blacklist include Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corp (DQ.N); Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Co, part of GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd (0451.HK).

The Commerce Department said the companies and XPCC “have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in” Xinjiang.

From the Congressional Research Service (June 2020):
Mass Internment
According to some estimates, since 2017, Xinjiang authorities have arbitrarily detained approximately 1.5 million Turkic Muslims, mostly ethnic Uyghurs and a smaller number of Kazakhs, in “reeducation camps.” PRC officials describe the Xinjiang facilities as “vocational
education and training centers” where “trainees” study Chinese, learn job skills, undergo “de-extremization” and be “cured of ideological infection.” Some may have engaged in religious and ethnic cultural practices that the government now perceives as extremist, or as manifesting “strongly religious” views or thoughts that could lead to the spread of religious extremism or terrorism. Detainees reportedly are compelled to renounce many of their Islamic beliefs and customs and to undergo self-criticisms. According to some former detainees, treatment and conditions in the camps include crowded and unsanitary conditions, forced labor, food deprivation, beatings, and sexual abuse.
In July 2019, Xinjiang officials claimed that most detainees had been released. Many Uyghurs living abroad, however, say that they still have not heard from missing relatives in Xinjiang. Over 400 prominent Uyghur intellectuals reportedly have been detained or their whereabouts are unknown. Some detainees have received prison sentences.
Forced and Involuntary Labor
According to some reports, the government has begun to move large numbers of Uyghurs, including many former detainees, into textile, apparel, and other labor-intensive industries in Xinjiang and other PRC provinces. Uyghurs who refuse to accept such employment may be threatened with detention. They continue to be heavily monitored outside of work, and are required to attend political study classes at night. In March 2020, the Congressional Executive Commission on China released a report, “Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” A study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute identified nearly 120 Chinese and foreign companies, including global brands, that the institute alleges directly or indirectly benefit from Uyghur labor in potentially abusive circumstances.
Shorter June 2021 report from CRS here.
The Congressional Executive Commission on China March 2020 report is here: “Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”

39 thoughts on “Trade Sanctions on Use of Forced Labor in China

  1. ltr

    February 26, 2021

    Why the U.S. should pursue cooperation with China
    By Jeffrey D. Sachs

    American foreign policy since World War Two has been based on a simple idea, perhaps best expressed by President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks: Either you are with us or against us. America should lead, allies should follow, and woe be to countries that oppose its primacy.

    The idea was both simple and simplistic. And now it is antiquated: The United States faces no implacable foes, no longer leads an overpowering alliance, and has far more to gain from cooperation with China and other countries than from confrontation.

    Former President Donald Trump was a grotesque caricature of U.S. leadership. He hurled insults, threats, unilateral tariffs, and financial sanctions to try to force other countries to submit to his policies. He ripped up the multilateral rule book. Yet Trump’s foreign policy faced remarkably little pushback inside the U.S. There was more consensus than opposition to Trump’s anti-China policies, and little resistance to his sanctions on Iran and Venezuela, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences.

    President Joe Biden’s foreign policy is a godsend in comparison. Already, the U.S. has rejoined the Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization, and is seeking to return to the United Nations Human Rights Council, and promises to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. These are hugely positive and admirable steps. Yet Biden’s early foreign policy pronouncements vis-à-vis China and U.S. leadership are problematic.

    Biden’s recent address to the Munich Security Conference is a good window into his administration’s thinking in these early days. There are three causes for concern.

    First, there is the rather naive idea that “America is back” as world leader. The U.S. is only now returning to multilateralism, has utterly botched the COVID-19 pandemic, and until January 20 was actively working against the mitigation of climate change. It still must heal the many deep wounds left by Trump, not least the insurrection of January 6, and address why 75 million Americans voted for him last November. That means reckoning with the hefty dose of white supremacist culture animating much of today’s Republican Party.

    Second, “The partnership between Europe and the United States,” Biden declared, “is and must remain the cornerstone of all that we hope to accomplish in the twenty-first century, just as we did in the twentieth century.” Really? I am an Europhile and strong supporter of the European Union, but the U.S. and the EU account for just 10 percent of humanity (NATO members account for 12 percent).

    The transatlantic alliance cannot and should not be the cornerstone “for all we hope to accomplish” in this century; it is but one important and positive building block. We need shared global stewardship by all parts of the world, not by the North Atlantic or any other region alone. For much of the world, the North Atlantic has an enduring association with racism and imperialism, an association stirred by Trump.

    Third, Biden claims the world is engaged in a great ideological struggle between democracy and autocracy. “We’re at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face – from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic – that autocracy is the best way forward…and those who understand that democracy is essential…to meeting those challenges.”

    Given this alleged ideological battle between democracy and autocracy, Biden declared that “we must prepare together for a long-term strategic competition with China,” adding that this competition is “welcome, because I believe in the global system Europe and the United States, together with our allies in the Indo-Pacific, worked so hard to build over the last 70 years.”

    The U.S. may view itself as being in a long-term ideological struggle with China, but the feeling is not mutual. American conservatives’ insistence that China is out to rule the world has come to underpin a bipartisan consensus in Washington. But China’s goal is neither to prove that autocracy outperforms democracy, nor to “erode American security and prosperity,” as the 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy asserts.

    Consider Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech at the World Economic Forum in January. Xi did not talk about the advantages of autocracy, or the failures of democracy, or the great struggle between political systems. Instead, Xi conveyed a message based on multilateralism to address shared global challenges, identifying “four major tasks.”

    Xi called on the world’s leaders to “step up macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly promote strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth of the world economy.” He also urged them “to abandon ideological prejudice and jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation.” Third, they must “close the divide between developed and developing countries and jointly bring about growth and prosperity for all.” Lastly, they should “come together against global challenges and jointly create a better future for humanity.”

    Xi stated that the path to global cooperation requires remaining “committed to openness and inclusiveness,” as well as “to international law and international rules” and “to consultation and cooperation.” He declared the importance of “keeping up with the times instead of rejecting change.”

    Biden’s foreign policy with China should begin with a search for cooperation rather than a presumption of conflict. Xi has pledged that China will “take an active part in international cooperation on COVID-19,” continue to open up to the world, and promote sustainable development and “a new type of international relations.” U.S. diplomacy would be wise to aim for engagement with China in these areas. Today’s hostile rhetoric risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Cooperation is not cowardice, as American conservatives repeatedly claim. Both the U.S. and China have much to gain from it: peace, expanded markets, accelerated technological progress, the avoidance of a new arms race, progress against COVID-19, a robust global jobs recovery, and a shared effort against climate change. With reduced global tensions, Biden could direct the administration’s efforts toward overcoming the inequality, racism, and distrust that put Trump in power in 2016 and still dangerously divides American society.

    Jeffrey D. Sachs, professor of Sustainable Development and professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is the director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development.

    1. ltr

      June 20, 2021

      Bernie Sanders to U.S. establishment: Don’t start a Cold War with China

      U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders warned the political establishment in Washington against casting China as an “existential threat” to the United States and urged it not to start a new Cold War with China on Thursday.

      In his opinion piece * for Foreign Affairs, “Washington’s Dangerous New Consensus on China,” Sanders wrote that it is “distressing and dangerous” to see what he called a fast-growing consensus in the U.S. establishment to view the U.S.-China relationship as a zero-sum economic and military struggle.

      “The prevalence of this view will create a political environment in which the cooperation that the world desperately needs will be increasingly difficult to achieve,” he said in the article.

      Listing the unprecedented global challenges that the U.S. faces today as climate change, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, massive economic inequality, terrorism and corruption, Sanders called them shared global challenges that require improved international cooperation, including with China….


  2. ltr

    Dean Baker @DeanBaker13

    Unlike his predecessor, Biden can engage in serious discussions with world leaders, but that doesn’t mean that he necessarily is taking us in the right direction. A new Cold War with China is not a good idea

    Biden, China, and the New Cold War

    After Donald Trump’s clown shows, it was nice to have a U.S. president who at least takes world issues seriously while representing the country at the various summits over the last week. But that is a low bar.

    6:27 PM · Jun 16, 2021

  3. pgl

    ‘The Commerce Department said the companies and XPCC “have been implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology surveillance against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups in” Xinjiang.’

    This enslavement of Muslims in China is a gross violation of human rights. Of course ltr (Anne) decides to respond with deny, deny, deny. Not one but 3 comments saying we should not engage in a new cold war. Of course we should not – no one is saying we should. But if Anne is suggesting we ignore these abuses of the rights of Muslims – she has zero credibility on this or any issue.

  4. JohnH

    While use of slave labor is abominable, the US would do better to start sanctioning Middle East allies who treat guest workers as slaves. Failure to do this spot lights US hypocrisy on human rights: if allies commit human rights abuses, it’s fine. If strategic rivals do it, they get punished.

    Sadly, forthe US, human rights are just another tool in the arsenal for use against strategic rivals.

    1. pgl

      One would think you might provide at least one story on your latest accusation – especially since you have been exposed as a liar on so many of your other rants. OK – I used Google (a tool you must not know how to use) and did come up with things like this:

      BTW – abuse of human rights occurs in several nations not just Arab allies of the US. OK this fact does not fit your usual stupid spin but damn it – learn to do a little research before polluting this place with your usual intellectual garbage.

      1. JohnH

        pgl has notoriously bad web searching skills, so here are a couple more examples of allies exploiting guest workers and children: (also published at Ha’aretz)

        Naturally, I would expect pgl to be oblivious to all of this.

        And it’s China that gets sanctioned because of the US’ highly selective, hypocritical concern about human rights.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          JohnH: Well, we can disagree on US policy with respect to other countries, but heck, for myself, I think sanctions for this massive and widespread an abuse are appropriate.

          1. pgl

            The kafala system was mentioned in both of JohnH’s stories (that he only decided to provide AFTER I asked to do so) seems to be very abusive to female guest workers from Asia. Whether it is Chinese companies abusing Turkish Muslims or Arab companies abusing Asian women, it is very wrong.

            Of course this kind of racist exploitation is exactly the kind of stuff a MAGA hat wearing type might actually applaud. Maybe we can have Princeton Steve explain the virtues of this guest worker program on his next appearance on Fox and Friends.

          2. Moses Herzog

            I generally support these U.S. policy moves if they are genuine and sincere. But, at the risk of giving free comedy material over to our good friend “ltr”, one is left wondering what are the core reasons:



            There are other examples involving USA companies, I just gave this example for relative ease of hunting down the links. I consume chocolate. I dare say a relative high percent of Americans do. Cheaply. Maybe we should have some more personal guilt on this when we consume chocolate products—guilt which might motivate action to stop the abuses—or perhaps temporary to long-term boycotts of the product. It’s at least a question worth pondering. I suspect this is a type activism for children etc many American women will take ZERO interest in. But once in a blue moon my cynicism on……. human nature, to be general/non-offensive about it, proves to be wrong. If I was going to Vegas though……..

            I can’t swear to it, but I believe Ziva Branstetter was the WaPo editor on this Peter Whoriskey and Rachel Siegel authored story

          3. JohnH

            If sanctions for massive and widespread abuse are appropriate, plenty of US allies would qualify

            Also, the US provides military assistance to 73% of the world’s dictators.

            Clearly, given a choice between human rights and US global hegemony, the US routinely falls on the side of hegemony…which is what the trade sanctions on China are really all about.

          4. pgl

            I’m sure you have seen ltr (anne) and her parade of defending what you have rightfully called out but also note this comment:

            June 25, 2021 at 12:20 pm

            Anne has an ally in her defense of human rights abuses!

          5. macroduck

            Not only appropriate, but required under Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930, which “prohibits the importation of merchandise mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced or indentured labor – including forced child labor.”

            As to Sachs, Baker and others, they wre entitled to their own views about broad policies, but those views do not supercede U.S. law.

            Chinese use of forced labor (slavery) is apparently widespread, with 83 firms so far identified as employing slave labor:

        2. pgl

          My research skills? You are the idiot who made a claim without providing a single link to support it. OK – you got around to doing so eventually. And of course you had to do more of your dishonest and pointless insult hurling.

    2. JohnH

      James Galbraith takes a look at Biden’s 100 day review on building resilient supply chains and finds that China is pervasive.

      You can hypocritically howl all you want about human rights, but it’s highly advisable not to bite the hand that feeds you. Better to restore your credibility by sanctioning brutal allies on whom we are not particularly dependent economically.

      1. pgl

        There was this fellow named JohnH who ranted and railed against free trade with China even more than Peter Navarro. But now we see another JohnH who is upset that the Biden Administration do anything close to what the Navarro nitwits used to advocate. Could the various JohnH’s here get together and make up their minds on such issues?

      2. pgl

        You know Yves Smith wrote an insightful discussion on the semiconductor sector (something Bruce Hall never understood even though he babbles a lot incoherently about it). Did you even read it? You should even though it does not have a damn thing to do with slavery. Which makes your latest comment really Cuckoo.

        1. JohnH

          For once, pgl is right. The piece by James Galbraith has nothing to do with slavery or forced labor…but it has a lot to do with China’s critical role in the supply chain and the perils of disrupting that supply chain as a result of sanctions applied for ill-considered geopolitical reasons.

          China has a lot of trump cards to play and is unlikely to be swayed by sanctions “on its human rights behavior” any more than the US would be. If the US wants to be sanctimonious about human rights, there are lots of other, overlooked opportunities to call abusers to account.

  5. Richard A.

    Biden is proving himself to be as much a protectionist as Trump and is using excuse mongering to increase trade restrictions. The Trump tariff on PVs is presently at 18% and it is aimed at the world–not china. Notice that Biden has refused to eliminate this Trump tariff.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Richard A.: If you consider how much Trump raised Section 301 and Section 232 tariffs and on how much trade, I think you would be hard pressed to say Biden is as protectionist as Trump.

  6. pgl

    A little bit of sanity for a change. A New York court has temporarily suspended the law license of Rudy Giuliani for all those lies he told in the service of King Donald:

    Of course RUDY went bonkers arguing this was unfair to him as he never got a hearing. Of course he clearly did lie so what is he going to say during the hearing that he will get after all? More of his incessant lies?

  7. ltr

    June 24, 2021

    David Firestein: Demonizing China is not helping America

    Zou Yue: Mr. Firestein, probably you have noticed, to demonize and demoralize China has become the political norm in the United States politics, and then anything short of criticizing China is regarded as unacceptable in America.

    David Firestein: Yeah, that’s absolutely true. There’s no question about it. Demonizing China is kind of the new national pastime in the United States of America. There’s no question about it. It’s seeped across the partisan aisle. It started out as mostly Republican. It’s certainly now pretty bipartisan, although I think it’s more Republican than Democratic. And there’s no question that there is a huge amount of negativity toward China, as I’ve often said. If, to use a metaphor, if China were helping an elderly grandmother across the street – to cross the street safely – many in America would find fault in that.

    No matter what China does, it’s wrong in the eyes of many Americans, and I think that approach, that mindset and reflexive response to China is not helping America. I think it’s causing us to miss some important nuance. I hope that our nation can get back to a less ideological and more fact-based and more pragmatic way of looking at China. Some of the things China does are very problematic for the United States. And by the way, some of the things that America does are very problematic for China, so let’s look at the facts and on the basis of facts, let’s try to solve problems rather than just merely hurling demonizing statements at each other because that doesn’t solve anybody’s problems.

    Zou Yue: But unfortunately, you are the minority now in your country.

    David Firestein: Yes, that’s true. And quite frankly, I take a lot of hits for it and you know, listen, my North Star is President George H.W. Bush as President & CEO of the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. We subscribe to President George H.W. Bush’s views on the relationship, and he believed that the U.S.-China relationship was the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and that no global challenge could be enduringly resolved in the absence of bringing the United States and China together. That used to be a mainstream view in this country. It’s not anymore, and I am in the minority. But we’re going to continue to stand strong for what we believe in and for what President George H.W. Bush stood for, because I think those are the right ideas for America.

    Zou Yue: And Mr. Firestein, what is more worrying is that it seems that Biden wants to use ideology as a wedge, because ideology has been now prioritized in dealing with China, because from the Chinese perspective, we never want to export our ideology to America. But it seems Biden frames this as a battle between democracy and autocracy, which is quite unacceptable here.

    David Firestein: I think your characterization is correct. There’s no question that President Biden has laid out a framework in which it is kind of a democracy versus autocracy framing, as you’ve rightly noted. I do think there is a pretty broad misunderstanding in the United States and in Washington as to what China’s aspirations are. I don’t think that China seeks to export its system to others, not to the United States, not to others….

    1. pgl

      “Cuba made a speech on behalf of 64 countries on Friday strongly opposing politicization of human rights and double standards and supporting China’s position on Xinjiang-related matters.”

      Bush41 has past away but his son Bush43 is alive. While I suspect George W. Bush would want a good relationship with China, I’m sure he would never condone slavery and sexual abuse. But this is what you are endorsing for some weird reason.

      1. JohnH

        Exactly where did ltr condone slavery and sexual abuse? Chapter and verse, please.

        Pgl is a past master at putting words in people’s mouths and attributing to them things they never said or intended.

        1. pgl

          She is not praising the PRC government? She is not lecturing not to condemn the horrific things our host brought up? Damn – you are a moron.

      2. JohnH

        Exactly where did ltr condone slavery and sexual abuse? Chapter and verse, please.

        Pgl is a past master at putting words in people’s mouths and attributing to them things they never said or intended.

        1. pgl

          ltr notes the following:

          “We commend the people-center philosophy that the Chinese government pursues and achievements that have been made in its human rights cause. Xinjiang is an inseparable part of China. We urge the relevant sides to abide by the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by manipulating Xinjiang related issues, refrain from making unfounded allegations against China out of political motivations and curbing the development of developing countries under the pretext of human rights.”

          I guess JohnH is too stooopid to know WTF means.

  8. ltr

    June 23, 2021

    UN General Assembly calls for US to end Cuba embargo for 29th consecutive year
    UN General Assembly votes on the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba.

    A total of 184 countries on Wednesday voted in favour of a resolution to demand the end of the US economic blockade on Cuba, for the 29th year in a row, with the United States and Israel voting against.

    In the meeting held in-person on Wednesday at UN headquarters in New York, three countries – Colombia, Ukraine, and Brazil – abstained….

    1. ltr–YAnYBd1wo8/index.html

      March 13, 2021

      64 countries call for stopping politicization of human rights

      At the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Cuba made a speech on behalf of 64 countries on Friday strongly opposing politicization of human rights and double standards and supporting China’s position on Xinjiang-related matters. In the joint statement, they also urged relevant parties to stop interfering into China’s internal affairs. Here’s the full text:

      Madam President,

      I have the honor to speak on behalf of 64 countries.

      We maintain that all sides should promote and protect human rights through constructive dialogue and cooperation and firmly oppose politicization of human rights and double standards.

      We commend the people-center philosophy that the Chinese government pursues and achievements that have been made in its human rights cause. Xinjiang is an inseparable part of China. We urge the relevant sides to abide by the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs by manipulating Xinjiang related issues, refrain from making unfounded allegations against China out of political motivations and curbing the development of developing countries under the pretext of human rights.

      Thank you, Madam President.

  9. Moses Herzog

    OK, who else is watching “CourtTV” at the same time they are playing on the computer???~~waiting on the Chauvin sentencing and wishing they would hang the bastard. I think the most he can get is 40 years and certainly the rules make it hard for the judge to give him more than 40 years. Still I like to live in my fantasy land where they nitrogen gas him up early tomorrow morning

    1. pgl

      You weren’t impressed by Chauvin’s mother? After all – Derek is her favorite son. Does she have other kids? If so, she just threw them under the bus.

      1. pgl

        22.5 years. The prosecution asked for 30 years. The cynic in me thought it would be only 15 years but I guess this judge split the difference.

        1. Moses Herzog

          I really kind of thought it was a crap shoot guessing what the judge was going to go with. I think he would have been pressing it on a backlash and mass protests with any sentence under 20 years, That being said I didn’t think he would go with 40 because of Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines. Sometimes I get a strong “sense” on these things, but this one is one I had ZERO clairvoyance on, other than officials and the judge himself wanting to avoid strong protests.

          I had the sound off on the TV when his Mom was talking. She had to do what she had to do, but I don’t have to stomach listening to it. It’s a strong wager she’s a closet racist, but I’m sure many people would tell me I’m being unfair saying that.

        2. Moses Herzog

          While I’ve managed to “veer off” another person from the original thread, (which is a good thread topic BTW) one thing I would like to say on this. Some discussion has been given to the Asian policeman trying to block the different phone videos. While I think Tou Thao should be punished for what he did, I don’t equate Thao’s actions with “murder”. But I think a strong argument can be made for “Accomplice to murder” which in my mind is a different thing. I think it shows how being on the police force can encourage “group think” and “career preservation”. It is my strong personal guess that if you had grabbed Tou Thao one year before he graduated the police academy, blurred out the face of Thao in the infamous Floyd choking video and asked him “Do you think you would do anything like this man is doing in the video in your future career as a law enforcement officer (referencing the blurry faced man in front of the vehicle trying to block phone video of the choking itself)??” he would have said that man in the video is a sick sadistic person, and that he would never commit such an action, ever, in all of the time he was “on the force”.

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