China used the labor of persecuted Uighur people to make personal protective equipment (PPE) that was then exported to the US and other countries, a new New York Times report found.
Many Chinese factories use a work program to recruit Uighur employees, The Times reported, which experts say is forced labor.
China has detained at least one million Uighurs in detention camps, which it euphemistically bills as “re-education” camps, and keeps Uighurs under strong surveillance.
Previous reports have found that companies like Nike and Apple have also worked with suppliers that use Uighur labor. The US recently blacklisted those suppliers.
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China has sent US and other countries personal protective equipment (PPE) that was made through the labor of the persecuted Uighur Muslim minority, The New York Times reported.
The Times identified companies across China that use Uighur labor to make PPE that is then exported to other countries.
One example cited by The Times was a shipment of face masks sent to a medical-supply company in the state of Georgia from a Chinese factory where more than 100 Uighurs were sent to work.
Some of those companies are using a government-backed labor programme to send Uighurs to work in their factories, which experts say amounts to using them as forced labour.
Amy K. Lehr, the human rights director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Times: “The rural poor that are being put into factory work are not going by choice.”
“These are coercive quotas that cause people to be put into factory work when they don’t want to be — and that could be considered forced labor under international law.” Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited under international human rights law.
China bills the program as a chance for Uighurs to improve their lives.
A spokesman for China’s Embassy in the US told The Times that the program helps “local residents rise above poverty through employment and lead fulfilling lives.”
The Times — which examined photos, videos, government documents, satellite images, and shipping data — and found that the number of PPE companies in China’s Xinjiang region, the heartland of the Uighur people, had increased from four before the pandemic to 51.
And 17 of those take part in the government’s Uighur labor program, though much of what they make is consumed within China, rather than exported abroad.
It is part of China’s wider persecution of Uighurs. The country has detained at least one million Uighurs in dire detention camps in what it euphemistically calls “re-education camps,” and has put them under extreme surveillance measures.
Reports also say that ethinically Chinese men are sent to the homes of Uighur women whose husbands were sent to the prison camps, and that those men frequently sleep in the same beds as them. China is also reportedly ordering them to redecorate their homes to make them look more Chinese.
Uighur labor has been connected to other products exported to the US.
The Associated Press reported in …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Science