Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

U.S. Import Ban on Chinese Region Could Lead to Resource Scarcity

On December 23, the South China Morning Post noted that pop star Karry Wang would no longer serve as Intel’s brand ambassador. The singer decried that “national interests exceed everything” via Weibo, China’s version of Twitter. Why the sudden hate for a semiconductor company from one of China’s most popular young stars? The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act that President Joe Biden signed into law the day before.

The far-reaching bill, which also passed the House and the Senate unanimously, bans imported goods from China’s Xinjiang region and imposes sanctions on individuals responsible for forced labor in the region. While the far west Chinese state might not be well known in the U.S., factories in Xinjiang produce electronics and apparel shipped across the globe. According to The New York Times, an estimated 20% of the world’s cotton and nearly half of the world’s polysilicon — the natural resource used in producing solar panels — come from Xinjiang. It is now illegal to import goods from the region into the U.S. unless companies can prove they weren’t made by workers compelled to toil at manual jobs.

A Uyghur woman in Xinjiang (right), located in northwest China (map, bottom left).
Wikimedia Commons

The law is the U.S. government’s biggest move yet to punish China for reported human rights abuses and genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minorities who populate the region. Accusations of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang include mass detentions, torture, forced sterilizations, and cultural persecution. The law shifts the burden of proof from customs officials to large corporations. In other words, firms will have to prove that factories and suppliers do not use slavery or coercion. Hence the reason for Intel’s statement and the subsequent backlash from China, which continues to deny claims of any abuse.

Related Guides

In December, Intel’s annual letter to suppliers (available on its website) stated the company was “required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region” following imposed restrictions. The letter sparked criticism in local and state Chinese media. In a Chinese-language statement on Thursday on its official WeChat and Weibo accounts, Intel tried to explain its way out of the situation, according to Reuters.

“We apologize for the trouble caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners, and the public. Intel is committed to becoming a trusted technology partner and accelerating joint development with China,” Intel said.

The apology, which drew criticism from competitors and from the U.S. government, illustrates the law’s massive impact. The bill’s reach ranges far beyond raw materials for the semiconductor company. Sugar, petroleum, and an array of minerals are just a few of the capital supplies that flow into Chinese factories from Xinjiang that, in turn, manufacture products for U.S. multinational firms. The new law’s consequence was evident before it even passed the legislature as negotiations involved some of this country’s biggest corporations — Nike and Coca-Cola, for two — who worked to limit the bill’s scope. ​​

If the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is enforced as written today, it would likely compel many of this country’s biggest companies to rework how they do business, or risk blocked products at customs. Consequently, the law is expected to spark a massive lobbying push by firms looking to ease restrictive guidelines as the government shapes the rules that importers must follow in sourcing Chinese products.

The Biden administration will convene hearings over the next four months to investigate how pervasive forced labor is, which will be pivotal in defining the legislation’s reach.

Read More: After Long Battle, The Tinder-Match Lawsuit is Over

Topics
Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
Real talk: The cigar community is about the shared love of the leaf and it’s beautiful
Man passing a few La Palina cigars over a dinner table to a friend.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the cigar community, from big and small companies to influencers and the average enjoyer, it’s wonderful to be a part of. I forgive you, dear reader, if you have been led to believe otherwise. For the reality is we are a brazen lot, wilfully enjoying an activity that has long been said to cause various health issues. Many cigar smokers on social media are outspoken, as well, often with clashing beliefs and sometimes even questionable politics. And let’s be honest, cigars and tobacco are most definitely a vice, much like alcohol.

Although this community stands out, it's a place where we embrace our shared love for an activity that has long been misunderstood. But allow me to explain why I’m sharing this and why it matters.
For the love of the leaf

Read more
These binge-worthy shows are perfect for a lazy weekend
The best binge worthy shows of all time
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad.

For most of TV's history, binge-watching wasn't really a thing. You watched one episode of your favorite show every week, and if you really loved it, you eagerly awaited the next one. With the advent first of home video, though, and then of streaming, and of Netflix in particular, binging became the default way many viewers consume TV.

While binging a show is great for many, not all shows are meant to be consumed that way. Sometimes, you want to let an episode breathe so that you can fully understand it before moving on to the next. For the shows on this list, though, binging is the way to go. These are the 10 most binge-worthy shows of all time.

Read more
3 Body Problem season 2: Everything we know so far
The details on 3 Body Problem season 2
The cast of 3 Body Problem.

Following a pretty successful first season, even more people know about the intricate sci-fi mysteries of 3 Body Problem. The series is based on novels of the same name, and following the conclusion of the first season on Netflix, many want to better understand where the show might go from here.

While season 1 covers plenty of ground, the last episode may have left you feeling like you had way more questions that still needed to be answered. Here's what we know about what will be in store for this show in its second season:
Is a season 2 of 3 Body Problem coming?
3 Body Problem | Official Trailer | Netflix

Read more