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In March 2021, Biden’s administration formally declared China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims a genocide in its annual human rights report published by the Department of State. It is difficult not to conclude that these findings may have also been influenced by the rare bipartisan criticisms aimed at China’s human rights record over the last few years.
This bipartisan condemnation of the Chinese government seems to have paid off as President Joseph R. Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) on December 23, 2021. This legislation prohibits the importation of goods produced with forced labor in China as it directs US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to apply a rebuttable presumption that “any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China” have been made with forced labor.
This Note argues that given the UFLPA’s overbroad economic implications and lack of clear enforcement mechanisms, is neither effective nor a realistic way of holding American companies seeking to import products from China accountable in the long term.
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