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The U.S. is poised to bar some solar products made in China’s Xinjiang region, according to several people familiar with the matter, marking one of the Biden administration’s biggest steps yet to counter alleged human rights abuses against the country’s ethnic Uyghur Muslim minority.
Xinjiang -- where advocacy groups and a panel of United Nations experts say Uyghurs and other minorities have been subjected to mass arbitrary detention and forced to work against their will -- produces roughly half of global supply of polysilicon, a material critical for solar panels and semiconductors. China has denied the allegations, saying they’re an attempt to undermine successful businesses.
The move targeting Chinese manufacturer Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan) Co., Ltd., which is expected to be announced Thursday, has implications for solar’s supply chain and could force U.S. companies to find material elsewhere. It comes after both the Trump and Biden administrations accused China of “genocide” in a campaign to erase the culture of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.