On October 24, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China sent a formal request for the government to ban seafood that is processed in two Chinese provinces from entering the U.S. because of concerns that they are tied to Uyghur forced labor.
The commission used the data provided by investigations from the nonprofit journalist organization, The Outlaw Ocean Project. Their investigations reveal the human rights abuses in China’s fishing fleet and proof of the forced labor of the Uyghur people within seafood processing plants, reports Didi Tang of AP News.
From fish sticks to calamari
The U.S. is required by law to ban the entry of goods made with forced labor and according to Representative Chris Smith, chair of the commission, these processing plants commit “egregious violations of human rights that contravened U.S. laws against the use of forced labor.”
In a hearing on October 24, Smith stated,
“From fish sticks to calamari, these products infiltrate the supply chains of major restaurants, wholesalers, and even find their way into the meals served at American schools and military bases.”
While China rejects allegations, they have been accused of mass detention, repression, abuse, and exploitation of Uyghurs. In 2021, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act was passed to ensure that goods entering the U.S. market would not involve the use of forced labor from the Uyghur region. However, The Outlaw Ocean Project has discovered that thousands of workers were moved across China from the Uyghur region to the eastern coastal province of Shandong to work at seafood processing plants that ship to U.S. importers.
The U.S. must abide by the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act!
According to the organization’s report, the U.S. imports roughly 80% of its seafood, and China supplies more than any other country. Elfidar Iltebir, president of the Uyghur American Association, urged the U.S. government to fully enforce the law.
“Given that the U.S. government has reportedly spent over $200 million on imported seafood in the past five years, there is a pressing concern about its potential connection to Uyghur forced labor in the processing plants in China.”
Freedom United echoes this urgency and calls for the dismantlement of the Uyghur forced labor system. Take action and stand with us against Uyghur forced labor.