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Rep. LaHood urges ban on products from Chinese company building an Illinois battery plant

U.S. Representative Darin LaHood talks with a Unit 5 School District official.
Charlie Schlenker
WGLT file
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood represents parts of Peoria and Bloomington-Normal.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood is urging the Biden administration to blacklist Chinese electric battery manufacturer Gotion for human rights violations.

The Peoria Republican is among a group of GOP lawmakers who have written to the Department of Homeland Security saying new intelligence shows Gotion uses state-sponsored slave labor and is involved in the ongoing genocide of the ethnic Uyghur population in China.

"As companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party receive billions of taxpayer dollars in federal and state subsidies, we have an obligation to ensure they abide by federal law and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act [UFPLA],” said LaHood.

Products made with Uyghur forced labor are prohibited from entering the United States.

Gotion is building a $2 billion electric battery plant in Manteno in Kankakee County with the help of $530 million in state incentives.

LaHood said Gotion sources lithium-ion and other materials from companies with "deep connections" to a sanctioned Chinese paramilitary organization that contributes to the Uyghur genocide.

"Gotion’s supply chains are deeply compromised by links to entities whose goods, wares, articles, or merchandise are mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region [XUAR]. As a result, we request it be added to the UFLPA Entity List and its shipments prohibited from entry to the United States," said LaHood.

The letter asserts Gotion sources aluminum foil from a subsidiary of a state-owned enterprise that uses forced labor and other material from a company that participates in "poverty alleviation through labor transfer" that LaHood said often is a disguise for forced labor.

LaHood is a member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.