Chinese authority forcing ethnic minority laborers in Xinjiang to pick cotton
Washington: A report has unveiled that the Chinese government is coercing hundreds of thousands of rural workers to carry out the grueling labour of handpicking cotton in the controversial Uyghur region of the country.
Adrian Zenz, senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Washington, D.C, exposed in its report: "New evidence from Chinese government documents and media reports shows that hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority laborers in Xinjiang are being forced to pick cotton by hand through a coercive state-mandated labor transfer and 'poverty alleviation' scheme, with potentially drastic consequences for global supply chains. Xinjiang produces 85 percent of China’s and 20 percent of the world’s cotton."
"Previously, evidence for forced labor in Xinjiang pertained only to low-skilled manufacturing, including the production of textiles and apparel. This report provides new evidence for coercion specifically related to cotton picking.
"These findings have much wider implications, affecting all supply chains that involve Xinjiang cotton as a raw material. On Dec. 2, 2020, the United States placed a Withhold Release Order on cotton produced by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. However, this entity only produces 33 percent of Xinjiang’s cotton and only 0.4 percent of its highest-quality long-staple cotton. This report provides evidence for coercive labor related to all cotton produced in Xinjiang," it said.
The report said despite increased mechanization, cotton picking in Xinjiang continues to rely strongly on manual labor.
Quoting the report, The Washington Post said in its opinion piece: " It also is time to tell China that as long as it puts the Uighurs (Uyghurs) in concentration camps and subjects them to coerced labor, it cannot host the most prestigious athletic competition in the world — the Olympics — in winter 2022.
Who are Uyghur Muslims?
Uyghur Muslims are a Turkic minority ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia. It is now widely publicized that their human rights are crushed by China and they were sent to "re-education camps" by the communist regime in Beijing.
The Uyghurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China.
An American representative at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in 2018 that the committee had received many credible reports that 1 million ethnic Uyghurs in China have been held in "re-education camps" by the Chinese authorities.