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Biden signs bill aiming to punish China for human rights abuses against Uyghurs

US President Joe Biden has signed into law a bill that aims to punish China for human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities, including the Uyghurs, in the Xinjiang region, The Hill news outlet reported.

The bipartisan legislation, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent last week, bans imports of goods from the Xinjiang region unless individuals or companies demonstrate that the materials were made without forced labour, the report said.

The bill, called the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, is the latest effort by the US to punish China for alleged abuse of millions of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

The US has accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs, the report added.

Last week, the Biden administration blacklisted elements of China’s biotechnology sector that officials said are involved in human rights abuses.

Senator Marco Rubio in a statement on Thursday called the legislation “the most important and impactful action taken thus far by the US to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their use of slave labour”.

“It will fundamentally change our relationship with Beijing,” Rubio said.

“This law should also ensure that Americans no longer unknowingly buy goods made by slaves in China. I look forward to working with the Biden administration and my colleagues to ensure the new law is implemented correctly and enforced properly.”