The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Dec. 8. The ban blocks imports from the Xianjiang province of China where more than 12 million Uyghur are being held.
The people, who are primarily Muslim, are being forced into slaved labor and to undergo population control efforts.
Factories in the province create components for U.S. companies such as Apple and Nike.
Earlier in the week, the Biden Administration announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing because of the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights atrocities against the Uyghur. Britain and Australia announced Wednesday they would join the diplomatic boycott.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) sponsored the act in the Senate where it passed in July. He reacted to the House vote on Wednesday calling for the Biden Administration to take further measures.
“I am glad the House is finally taking action to crack down on slave labor in China,” he said. “However, the Biden Administration and some big corporations are still working to make sure this bill never becomes law. And they are already working to complicate things here in the Senate. Anyone who helps them stop our efforts while hiding behind procedures and technicalities should be called out for that.”
Messengers to the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in June passed a resolution speaking to what is being called the genocide of the Uyghur people.
“We strongly urge the United States government to continue to take concrete actions with respect to the People’s Republic of China to bring an end to the genocide of the Uyghur People,” the resolution says, “and work to secure their humane treatment, immediate release from reeducation camps, and religious freedom.”
SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Public Policy Director Chelsea Sobolik is calling on the Biden Administration to take the next step.
“I’m grateful that the House passed this important bill, countering the Chinese Communist Party’s horrific genocide of the Uyghur people,” Sobolik said. “Congress should reconcile the Senate version and President Biden should swiftly send the legislation into law.”
Beyond calling for the end of the genocide, the SBC resolution calls for the U.S. government to grant refugee status to the Uyghur and create pathways for them to enter the country.
“We implore the United States government to prioritize the admission of Uyghurs to this country as refugees, and provide resources for their support and resettlement,” it says.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Brandon Porter serves as associate vice president for convention news at the SBC Executive Committee.)