WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers will consider two bills next week on goods made with forced labor from China’s Xinjiang region, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday, with one that would restrict imports and another requiring publicly traded U.S. companies to make disclosures on supply chains.
“If we refused to speak out about human rights in China because of commercial interests, then we lose all moral authority to speak about human rights any place in the world,” Pelosi said.
Relations with China have become an issue in campaigning for the Nov. 3 U.S. elections, with Republican President Donald Trump running for re-election against his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. Control of Congress is up for grabs, with Pelosi’s fellow Democrats trying to retain control of the House and hoping to gain control of the Senate, where Republicans have a small majority.
Trump and his fellow Republicans have sought to portray Democrats as weak on China, which Democrats dispute.
In her remarks on China at her weekly news conference on Friday, Pelosi noted that she has been a critic of China on issues such as trade and human rights for more than 30 years.
The United States and other countries have been ratcheting up pressure on China over its treatment of Uighur Muslims in the remote Xinjiang region, where the United Nations cites credible reports as saying 1 million Muslims held in camps have been put to work.
China has rejected allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang and criticized the United States for meddling in its internal affairs.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)