LONDON: Britain will introduce new rules for companies to try to prevent goods linked to China’s Xinjiang region entering the supply chain, foreign minister Dominic Raab said yesterday, toughening London’s response to allegations of forced labour.
Addressing parliament, Raab said there was harrowing evidence of forced labour among Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang after the United Nations estimated at least one million of the minority among others were held in an internment camp.
Beijing denies the charges.
Raab said Britain wanted to make sure it was free from any products that had links with Xinjiang, where he cited widespread reports of internment camps housing more than 1m Uighurs, forced labour and the forced sterilisation of Uighur women.
“We must do more and we will,” he said.
“Xinjiang’s position in the international supply chain network means that there is a real risk of businesses and public bodies around the world, whether it’s inadvertently or otherwise, sourcing from suppliers which are complicit in the use of forced labour.”
It is not clear how many products connected to Xinjiang enter the supply chain in Britain.
Raab said Britain would check sourcing more thoroughly and toughen the Modern Slavery Act to include fines. It would also bar from government contracts any companies which do not comply to procurement rules, and launch a Xinjiang-specific review of export controls.