China condemns US 'forced labor' bill

China expressed indignation and opposition on Wednesday over the passage of a bill by the United States House of Representatives that claims its purpose is to prevent "forced labor" in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, and vowed to take all necessary measures to uphold the rights of Chinese companies and safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests.

The bill is in favor of banning imports from Xinjiang over "forced labor". It would also have to be passed by the US Senate before becoming law.

"The issue of 'forced labor' is a lie made by some institutions and people of the US and some Western countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing, adding that it maliciously defamed the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

"China is strongly indignant and opposed to it. We have lodged stern representations with the US side," he said, adding that Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs, and the US had no right to interfere.

Some US people have repeatedly claimed that they care about ethnic issues in Xinjiang but have disregarded the efforts made by the regional government to protect human rights and promote employment, Wang said.

He went on to accuse the US of hyping up the so-called forced labor issue and using it to restrict and suppress Xinjiang businesses.

The move "reveals their hypocrisy and hidden intention to contain Xinjiang's growth, sow discord between ethnic groups in China, meddle in China's internal affairs and seek selfish, political gains by playing the China card. However, their attempts will never succeed".

Wang urged the US to stop using the Xinjiang issue to interfere in China's internal affairs or undermine China's development, and stop further review and implementation of the bill.

Last week, the State Council Information Office released a white paper on employment and labor rights in Xinjiang. It summarized Xinjiang's achievements in increasing employment and ensuring public well-being while implementing COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

"If those in the US truly care for employment and labor rights in Xinjiang, they should take a good look at this white paper," Wang said.