Biden hits China on solar panels over human rights abuses

The Biden administration is moving to bar U.S. imports of a material used in solar panels produced by a Chinese-based firm that officials say is engaged in forced labor practices, ratcheting up pressure on China over its human rights abuses.

 The White House said that the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection issued a “withhold release order” on silica-based products produced by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd., and its subsidiaries which will result in personnel detaining shipments of Hoshine-made products.

The Biden administration said that the order was based on information “reasonably indicating” that the company, which is based in China’s Xinjiang region, engages in forced labor practices. The step is the latest evidence of the Biden administration taking steps to punish China over its human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang. 


“These actions demonstrate our commitment to imposing additional costs on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for engaging in cruel and inhumane forced labor practices and ensuring that Beijing plays by the rules of fair trade as part of the rules-based international order,” reads a White House fact sheet announcing the action.

“The United States believes that state-sponsored forced labor in Xinjiang is both an affront to human dignity and an example of the PRC’s unfair economic practices.”

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In addition to the action by DHS, the Commerce Department is also slapping trade restrictions on five companies based in China for engaging in, accepting or using forced labor practices in Xinjiang. The companies include Hoshine Silicon Industry, Xinjiang Daqo New Energy, Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals, Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology, and XPCC.

The Labor Department is also updating a list of goods produced by child labor or forced labor to include polysilicon produced using forced labor in China.

The administration took the actions less than two weeks after the Group of Seven (G7) nations publicly committed to cutting forced labor practices out of global supply chains, after President BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says ‘nothing is agreed’ MORE pressed for the group to take a harder line on Beijing’s practices during a summit in Cornwall, U.K.