In a growing controversy surrounding the UK’s energy sector, Britain risks becoming a receptacle for products tainted by forced labour from the occupied region of East Turkestan, if the government declines proposed reforms by the cross-party supported Foreign Affairs Select Committee. 
The proposed amendment to the Energy Bill, which is slated for debate today, stipulates that solar energy companies must substantiate the absence of slave labour within their supply chains.
East Turkestan, a major source of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon — a vital component in solar photovoltaic systems — stands at the centre of this debate.
“…a dumping ground for slave labour-produced solar”
The amendment, championed by Alicia Kearns, chair of the aforementioned committee, places an obligation on the Planning Inspectorate in England to disallow any nationally significant infrastructure project exceeding 50MW, unless it can be unequivocally demonstrated that slave labour is not involved. 
Kearns, who sits in the Commons as the member for Rutland and Melton, told The Guardian,
“[Foreign Secretary] Cleverly talked the talk on the Uyghur genocide in Beijing. It’s time for the government to put its legislative might behind its strong rhetoric. By adopting this amendment to the energy bill, they can ensure that nationally significant infrastructure projects are far more transparent and become more free from forced labour.
“Taking even this small stand against all forms of slave labour would help put an end to the UK becoming a dumping ground for slave labour-produced solar. Uyghur blood labour must not stain our countryside.” 
Forced labour rampant in East Turkestan
This fresh standoff between the legislature and the executive follows James Cleverly’s recent trip to Beijing, where he emphasised the UK’s commitment to “human rights”.
However, evidence provided by the End Uyghur Forced Labour campaign group suggests that slave labour remains rampant in East Turkestan.
In remarks, the campaign group warned,
“Solar companies must exit the Uyghur region at every level of their supply chains immediately; this should be accompanied by governments globally enacting import control legislation banning imports of goods made with forced labour.
“There are no valid means for companies to verify that any workplace in the Uyghur region is free of forced labour, or to prevent the use of forced labour in these workplaces in line with human rights due diligence; therefore, business must operate on the assumption that all products produced in part or in whole in the Uyghur region are at high risk of being tainted by forced labour.” 
Consequently, supporting the amended legislation could potentially lead to a de facto trade ban with East Turkestan.
UK must continue to hold leading role in calling out genocide
While the UK’s foreign policy outwardly strives to strike a balance between economic interests and so-called human rights, it faces mounting pressure to address the issue of slave labour in its supply chains.
Notably, the existing Modern Slavery Act mandates UK companies to report on their actions to eradicate slave labour from their supply chains, but it does not impose any substantive obligations beyond reporting.
This proposed amendment will force companies to furnish the Planning Inspectorate with a comprehensive report, offering clear and compelling evidence that their goods or materials used in production have not been sourced, produced, or manufactured with forced labour, either wholly or in part.
One thing is for certain, the UK’s stance on slave labour in the solar energy supply chain will carry far-reaching implications for its relations with China and the global fight against the ongoing genocide of Uyghur Muslims.
My unlawfully imprisoned sisters and brothers could be among those innocent people exploited for forced labour, and they may have made those solar energy pieces of equipment that are reaching the UK market.
This bill must have the power to expose those who are benefiting from Uyghur slave labour and thwarting the Chinese Communist Party’s intent to profit from the Uyghur Genocide.
Investors, stakeholders, and consumers must confront any complicity in the Chinese regime’s heinous crimes against humanity and take a firm stand against such practices to uphold human rights and moral principles.
- China’s obliteration of the Uyghurs’ last refuge: their home
- China’s war on Islam: Muslim women ‘forced to share beds’ with male officials
- Uyghur Tribunal underway with bone-chilling survivor testimonies
- Uyghur Muslims suffer forced sterilisation, abortions, and removal of wombs