Britain to tighten laws on imports linked to alleged Chinese human rights abuses

LONDON (REUTERS) – Britain will tighten the law on importing goods linked to alleged human rights abuses in China as ministers take a tougher stance on Beijing, The Telegraph reported on Monday (Jan 11).

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will make a statement on Tuesday in the House of Commons on the government’s response to allegations of forced labour in China’s Xinjiang province, home to about 12 million Uighur Muslims, the report added.

Among the measures expected to be unveiled by the government include expansion of the Modern Slavery Act, reacting to concerns that items manufactured under duress by the Uighur Muslim minority may be entering Britain, the Telegraph reported.

Britain said last year there was credible, growing and troubling evidence of forced labour among Uighur Muslims.

China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of Uighur Muslims and allegations of forced-labour abuses in Xinjiang, where the United Nations cites credible reports that 1 million Muslims held in camps have been put to work.

Beijing has repeatedly denied mistreating Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centres that are needed to tackle extremism, accusing what it calls anti-China forces of smearing its Xinjiang policy.

According to the Telegraph report, the government is considering imposing heavier fines on companies that breach the terms of the legislation, along with new due diligence criteria that oblige firms to ensure that no one in their supply chain has been part of a forced-labour transfer scheme.

Among other measures, British ministers are looking to impose tougher export controls on goods and technology to China that could be used for repression, the report added.

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