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China ratified two international conventions on forced labor this week in an effort to reduce international criticism over its treatment of the Uyghur ethnic minority in the Xinjiang province which has hindered trade ties with Western nations, Bloomberg reported.

The National People’s Congress agreed to ratify the Forced Labor Convention and Abolition of Forced Labor Convention on Wednesday. The conventions were adopted in 1930 and 1957 respectively by members of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The move comes amid accusations that the Chinese government has forced members of the Muslim Uyghur population into forced labor and subjected them to other abuses. President Xi Jinping has continuously denied the allegations, pledging to improve labor standards and ratify ILO conventions.

The allegations prompted US President Joe Biden to sign a bill last year, which banned the import of goods from Xinjiang unless companies can prove they weren’t made with forced labor. The European Union also paused its long-anticipated trade deal with China over the issue.

While the ILO hailed the ratification as “highly significant,” many analysts said Beijing’s move would not satisfy its critics.

European officials noted that the belated decision was unlikely to sway the EU without “a real policy change by China in Xinjiang.”

Even so, others said the ratifications signify “an important signal that China aims to be a responsible stakeholder in the international economic system.”

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