A report says millions of ethnic minority workers in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region are being forced to take cotton by hand through the compulsory state employment scheme.
Rights activists say there is a network of illegal detention camps in the northwestern Xinjiang region, where at least one million people have been imprisoned, and China has defended itself as a job training center for counter-terrorism.
The Washington-based Think Tank Center for Global Policy, published yesterday citing online government documents, says the government sent at least 570,000 people to pick cotton in 2018 in three majority-Uyghur areas of Xinjiang. Transfer plan.
Researchers estimate that the total number involved in compulsory Xinjiang cotton picking, which is highly dependent on voluntary labor, exceeds “millions”.
Xinjiang is the global hub for the world’s 20% cotton-producing crop, and the report warns that it could have “serious repercussions” on global supply chains.
One-fifth of the yarn used in the United States comes from Xinjiang.
Beijing said all prisoners have graduated from the centers, but reports indicate that many former prisoners have been transferred to low-skilled construction factory jobs.
Police are recording participants in the Labor Transfer Scheme, point-to-point transfers, “military-style management” and ideological training, citing government documents, the Think Tank report said.
“It is clear that the transfer of labor to pick cotton involves a higher risk of forced labor,” wrote Adrian Sense, which found the documents.
“Some minorities may consent to this process to some extent, and they may benefit financially. However … it is not possible to define where the coercion ends and where the local consent can begin.”
The report also says that there is strong ideological impetus for the implementation of the plan. The increase in rural incomes allows officials to reach the state-proposed poverty alleviation target.
China has strongly denied allegations of forced labor in connection with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, accusing the United States of wanting to “suppress Xinjiang companies.”
Beijing says training programs, work schemes and better education have helped eliminate terrorism in the region.
Earlier this month, a major paramilitary firm, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, banned the import of cotton, which accounts for about a third of the country’s total crop production.
The U.S. Senate has not yet passed another specific bill banning all imports from Xinjiang.