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AsiaCurrent

Uyghur Muslims in China’s Concentration Camps Doing Forced Labour in Factories, According to New Report

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AsiaCurrent

Uyghur Muslims in China’s Concentration Camps Doing Forced Labour in Factories, According to New Report

ASPI has also documented cases of Uyghurs being under heavy surveillance once at the factories with watch towers and barbed wire fences – and in addition to this, are being forced to live in segregated dormitories, forced to have Mandarin Chinese language lessons, and “ideological training” outside work hours.

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ASPI has also documented cases of Uyghurs being under heavy surveillance once at the factories with watch towers and barbed wire fences – and in addition to this, are being forced to live in segregated dormitories, forced to have Mandarin Chinese language lessons, and “ideological training” outside work hours.

According to a new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, tens of thousands of Uyghur Muslims detained in China’s horrific concentration camps in the northwestern province of Xinjiang are being sent to work in factories across the country – a system of forced labour that is being described as “economic exploitation”.

Thought to be part of the next phase of China’s cultural genocide of the Uyghur and other ethnic Muslim minorities of northwestern China, it has been reported that Uyghurs are being threatened with further detention if they do not comply with this new forced labour scheme. The report also estimates that around 80,000 Uyghurs have so far been forced to work in factories across China.

These factories are also reportedly part of a supply chain for at least 83 high-profile international brands, such as Nike, Apple, and Dell. Transferring the detained Uyghurs through a central government policy known as Xinjiang Aid, 27 factories have so far been identified by ASPI as using Uyghur forced labour since 2017.

The report’s co-author Nathan Ruser told the BBC:

Our report makes it really clear that the dispossession of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang also has a really strong character of economic exploitation. We have this unseen and previously hidden contamination of the global supply chain.”

ASPI has also documented cases of Uyghurs being under heavy surveillance once at the factories with watch towers and barbed wire fences – and in addition to this, are being forced to live in segregated dormitories, forced to have Mandarin Chinese language lessons, and “ideological training” outside work hours. Banned from any form of religious observance or practices, the Uyghur Muslims are not only victims of forced labour but of China’s wider cultural genocide against the Uyghur and ethnic minority Muslims of northwestern China.

A senior Chinese official reportedly told reporters in December of last year that the Uyghurs in forced labour at these factories were those that had “graduated” from what China calls the “re-education centers” – otherwise known as the concentration camps spread across Xinjiang. Local governments and private brokers were also reportedly “paid a price per head” for the Uyghurs forced into labour at these factories.

China continues to deny any wrongdoing in its cultural genocide against the Uyghur Muslims. An estimated 2 million are held in concentration camps across Xinjiang – called the largest mass incarceration of peoples since the Holocaust itself. Detained for arbitrary reasons such as praying, having a beard, wearing hijab, or applying for a passport, once in the concentration camps Uyghur Muslims are subject to some of modern history’s worst human rights abuses. Cases of physical and psychological torture, mass rape, forced sterilizations, forced indoctrination, intimidation, and even death are commonplace.

As the world remains relatively silent on the issue, governments across the globe, including those of Muslim majority countries, continue to bask in China’s economic and political friendship despite the ongoing abuses against the Uyghur Muslims.

Female Muslim prisoners in China’s concentration camps are being gang-raped and tortured

ASPI, since releasing its most recent report, has called on foreign companies to conduct “immediate and thorough human rights due diligence” on their factory labour in China.

Nike has since told the Washington Post that it is “committed to upholding international labour standards globally”, and that its suppliers are “strictly prohibited from using any type of prison, forced, bonded, or indentured labour”. Apple has also said it is “dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve”. Dell has commented that it will look into the issue.

While international brands continue to issue generic statements such as the ones above, it remains a duty on the citizens’ part to boycott brands that continue to ignore such severe allegations as these, and to pressure our local MPs, politicians, and community leaders to speak up against China’s continued impunity when it comes to the human rights of the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang.

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