Press Releases

Wexton-Backed Bill to Combat Forced Labor in China Signed into Law

Washington, DC – Today, President Joe Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which Wexton co-introduced alongside Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) earlier this year. The bipartisan bill will ban all imports from the Xinjiang region of China unless it can be determined that they were not produced using forced labor.

“The mass imprisonment and forced labor of Uyghurs in China has poisoned global supply chains, and American companies and consumers cannot be complicit,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “I’m proud that we have delivered a strong, bipartisan law that will keep goods made with forced labor off of our store shelves and hold the Chinese government accountable for their genocide of Uyghurs. I’m grateful to the relentless work of advocates in Virginia and across the country for helping make this legislation a reality, and I will continue fighting to ensure that the U.S. will not turn a blind eye to this human rights atrocity.”

“The entire ADAMS community deeply appreciates the effort of Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton and her Capitol Hill colleagues for supporting the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act. This issue is utmost importance not only to the Uyghur members of our congregation, but to every Muslim in Virginia and beyond. Ms. Wexton’s heartfelt past assistance to the Uyghur community has been a major comfort to us all, and her support and that of her Congressional colleagues will be critical to resolving this issue,” said Younus Mirza, Chairman, and Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Imam, of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS).

Congresswoman Wexton has long advocated for meaningful action to hold the Chinese government accountable for their prolific exploitation of Uyghur forced labor, after the issue was raised during a meeting with constituents at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center shortly after Wexton took office in 2019. Wexton represents one of the largest Uyghur diaspora populations in the U.S. and has shared the plight of Uyghur families living in Northern Virginia whose families have been victims to the PRC’s surveillance and human rights abuses.

“Our champions in Congress fought hard for this bill over the last two years," said Omer Kanat, Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project. "We are grateful beyond words that the U.S. now has the tools to stop companies profiting from Chinese government's horrendous forced labor program.”

“Congresswoman Wexton is a hero to Uyghur Americans and a hero to everyone for standing up to China's genocide," said Elfidar Iltebir, Uyghur American Association board member. "She has fought so hard to get to this day.” Wexton met Iltebir at the ADAMS Center in 2019 during an event on the Uyghur human rights crisis, and joined her outside of the Capitol before the legislation was voted on by Congress.

Many everyday goods used by Americans – including electronics, textiles, automobile parts, polysilicon, wigs and hair extensions, and shoes – have been tied to forced labor in Xinjiang, and despite all the recent attention on this issue, imports from Xinjiang to the U.S. remarkably doubled in 2020. Big corporations like Nike and Coca-Cola, who have reportedly profited from the forced labor regime, have lobbied against the bipartisan legislation. The bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate earlier this month.