rights experts accuse the Chinese government of detaining at least one
million Muslims in Xinjiang in up to 380 internment camps, where they
are subject to torture, mass rapes, forced labor and sterilizations.
Pictured: The outer wall of an internment camp on the outskirts of
Hotan, in China's Xinjiang region. (Photo by Greg Baker/AFP via Getty
Four major European and American apparel and footwear manufacturers
have been sued in a French court for allegedly using forced labor in
Xinjiang, a mostly Muslim region in northwestern China.
Human rights groups, academic researchers and journalists have
increasingly been sounding the alarm that the Chinese government is
forcing more than 500,000 Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic and religious
minorities to pick cotton in Xinjiang, one of the largest
cotton-producing regions in the world.
On April 9, the European Uyghur Institute, in collaboration with a French human rights NGO called Sherpa, the Ethics on Labels Collective (Collectif Ethique sur l'étiquette),
and a Uyghur detention camp survivor, all represented by Bourdon &
Associés, a prestigious Paris-based law firm, filed the lawsuit at the
Judicial Court of Paris (Tribunal judiciaire de Paris).
The suit accuses Spain-based Inditex (whose brands include Zara, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Pull and Bear and Stradivarius), France-based SMCP (comprised of Parisian brands, Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot and De Fursac), U.S.-based footwear company Skechers, and the U.S. subsidiary of the Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo,
of being "accomplices in serious crimes," including "concealment of the
crime of forced labor, the crime of organized human trafficking, the
crime of genocide and crimes against humanity."
The plaintiffs accuse:
- Inditex of maintaining supply links with major producers of yarns and fabrics based in Xinjiang.
- SMCP, whose majority shareholder is Luxembourg-based European
TopSoho, an investment holding company owned by the Chinese Shandong
Ruyi Technology Group Company Limited, based in Shandong, China, of
operating factories in Xinjiang since 2010.
- Skechers of producing shoes at a factory in Guangdong province,
where Uyghurs are allegedly forcibly transferred to work under
conditions of forced labor.
- Uniqlo, which has officially taken a stand against forced labor, of
sourcing textiles from Xinjiang, as well as from Anhui province, where
thousands of Uyghur workers have allegedly been forcibly transferred to
work under conditions of force labor.
The plaintiffs are asking
the French judiciary to rule on the "possible criminal liability" of
the companies. The stated aim is to "end impunity" for the brands, which
are accused of "offloading onto their subcontractors their
responsibility for human rights."
The lawsuit is based on a growing body of evidence-based research
(see Appendixes below) which suggests that the Chinese government is
committing crimes against humanity in an effort to crush political and
religious dissent among Uyghurs in Xinjiang. Some scholars accuse
the Chinese Communist Party of "ethnic cleansing" in Xinjiang with the
ultimate aim of unifying the entire country around one homogeneous
racial group, that of the Han Chinese.
Human rights experts accuse the Chinese government of detaining at least one million Muslims in Xinjiang in up to 380 internment camps, where they are subject to torture, mass rapes, forced labor and sterilizations.
Xinjiang produces 85% of China's and one-fifth of the world's cotton
supply. Roughly 70% of the region's cotton fields are picked by hand.
Research indicates that up to 560,000 Uyghurs are being forced to pick cotton
in Xinjiang. The allegations of forced labor affect all Western supply
chains that involve Xinjiang cotton as a raw material. Both the European
Union and the United States import more than 30% of their total apparel
and textile supplies from China.
In October 2019, the United States began imposing sanctions (Appendix
1 below) on Chinese individuals and entities accused of responsibility
for abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
In October 2020, the Geneva-based Better Cotton Initiative
(BCI), an influential non-profit group that promotes sustainable cotton
production, suspended licensing of Xinjiang cotton, citing allegations
and "increasing risks" of forced labor. The statement has since been scrubbed from the BCI website, and, disturbingly, also is not accessible on the Internet Archive. A screen shot of the statement can be viewed here.
After the BCI, which has more than 1,800 members, spanning the entire
global cotton supply chain, stopped licensing Xinjiang cotton
production, its members — including Germany-based Adidas, U.K.-based
Burberry, Swedish retailers H&M and IKEA, and U.S.-based Nike — all
issued statements that they would stop using cotton from Xinjiang, in
accordance with the group's guidelines.
In March 2021, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada, following the American lead, announced (here, here and here) that they too had imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of Uyghur-related human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government retaliated by issuing its own sanctions against European, British, Canadian and American individuals and entities. China also launched a boycott
of Western clothing retailers for expressing concerns about forced
labor in Xinjiang. The companies have been pressured to scrub from their
websites language about corporate policies on human rights, reverse
decisions to stop buying cotton produced in Xinjiang, and remove maps
that depict Taiwan as an independent country.
On or around March 25, presumably under pressure from China, Zara's parent company, Inditex, removed from its website a statement on the company's zero-tolerance policy for forced labor. The statement, which can be found on the Internet Archive, said:
"We take reports of improper social and labor practices
in any part of the garment and textile supply chain extremely seriously.
We are aware of a number of such reports alleging social and labor
malpractice in various supply chains among Uyghurs in Xinjiang (China)
as well as in other regions, which are highly concerning. Following an
internal investigation, we can confirm that Inditex does not have
commercial relations with any factory in Xinjiang."
The French newspaper Liberation reported:
"In fact, many companies in the sector are likely, at one
stage or another of their production, to profit, consciously or not,
from the coercive policy pursued by Beijing towards the Turkic peoples,
whether in Xinjiang or in factories in other regions of China where
Uyghur workers are sent. The Spanish Inditex, accused, like the Japanese
Uniqlo, of supplying itself with yarn and fabric in Xinjiang, assured Liberation
in December 'not to have links with Chinese companies identified as
being able to use forced labor' and stressed that the 'group does not
condone any form of forced labor.'"
Similar lawsuits are expected to be filed in other European countries. In a press release, the Ethics on Labels Collective said that the French lawsuit should serve as a warning to all Western companies that source production from Xinjiang:
"This lawsuit more broadly targets a large number of
brands and distributors in the sector and denounces the impunity of
these actors in the face of violations committed in the context of
"This lawsuit is the first in a series that will be filed in the
coming months in other European countries and is supported by the
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the
World Uyghur Congress.
"It is part of the long-standing advocacy of our organizations to
fight against the impunity of transnational corporations and for the
access of victims to justice and reparation."
Separately, on February 24, the Association of Uyghurs in France (Association des Ouïgours de France) filed a lawsuit
against U.S.-based Nike for "deceptive business practices and
complicity in the concealment of forced labor" in Xinjiang. The brand is
said to continue to work with supplier Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. Ltd,
which produces at least seven million pairs of shoes a year for Nike and
allegedly uses at least 600 mostly female Uyghur workers.
"In doing so, Nike abuses its customers," said
Parisian lawyer Mourad Battikh. "The brand is far from the ethical
commitments it proclaims in the charter published on its official
website." Nike denies the allegations.
The lawsuit was filed on the same day that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian denounced China's treatment of the Uyghurs:
"From the Xinjiang region of China, we are receiving
testimonies and corroborating documents that point to unjustifiable
practices against Uyghurs and of an institutionalized system of
large-scale surveillance and repression."
Appendix 1. Western Actions Against China for Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang
In late 2016, the Chinese government initiated a sweeping crackdown
in Xinjiang aimed at forcibly assimilating the Uyghurs, a mostly Muslim
ethnic group. Since then, China has sharply expanded a network of "political re-education" camps aimed at suppressing dissent. It has also cracked down on Uyghurs living abroad to determine if they are involved in anti-government activities.
The Uyghur population in Xinjiang is subject to extreme surveillance
and restriction of movement. Although the situation there is opaque,
satellite imagery shows that the number and size of detention facilities and textile factories are rapidly expanding. Satellite pictures also indicate
that detainees are systematically being transported from detention
centers to textile factories. Uyghurs are being paid below the minimum
wage, and often not at all, according to local sources.
In recent years, a growing number of Western governments, think tanks
and human rights groups have drawn attention to human rights violations
The Trump Administration, beginning in 2018, led the charge by
sanctioning Chinese officials and entities believed to be responsible
for, or complicit in, human rights abuses in Xinjiang. More recently,
the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada also announced
coordinated sanctions, although not nearly to the extent of those
imposed by the United States.
Australia and New Zealand have backed the sanctions, but have not announced any such measures of their own, apparently
because they lack a legislative framework such as the Global Magnitsky
Human Rights Accountability Act, which allows for targeted sanctions
against human rights abusers.
Following are, in reverse order, Western government-level sanctions,
statements and measures aimed at drawing attention to the human rights
abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang:
- March 22, 2021. The European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada announced (here, here and here)
that they had imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials accused of
responsibility for abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
- February 25, 2021. The Dutch parliament passed
a non-binding motion saying that the treatment of Uyghurs in China
amounts to genocide. It was the first such move by a European country.
- February 22, 2021. The Canadian parliament voted 266 to 0 to declare China's treatment of its Uyghur population a genocide.
- January 19, 2021. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo determined
that China, under the direction and control of the Chinese Communist
Party, has committed genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic and
religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
- January 13, 2021. The Trump Administration announced
a ban on imports of cotton and other products from Xinjiang. It cited
human rights violations and the widespread use of forced labor in the
region. "The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will not tolerate
the Chinese government's exploitation of modern slavery to import goods
into the United States below fair market value," said
CBP Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan. "Imports made on the cheap by
using forced labor hurt American businesses that respect human rights
and also expose unsuspecting consumers to unethical purchases."
- December 21, 2020. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced additional restrictions on the issuance of visas for People's Republic of China officials engaged in human rights abuses.
- July 20, 2020. The U.S. Department of Commerce added
11 Chinese companies to the U.S. Entity List, all of which were
"implicated in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation
of the People's Republic of China's (PRC) campaign of repression, mass
arbitrary detention, forced labor, involuntary collection of biometric
data, and genetic analyses targeted at Muslim minority groups from the
Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
- July 9, 2020. The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned
one Chinese government entity and four current or former government
officials in connection with human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
- July 1, 2020. The U.S. Department of State, along with the
U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued
a risk advisory for businesses with potential supply chain exposure to
Xinjiang to consider the reputational, economic and legal risks of
involvement with entities that engage in human rights abuses, such as
forced labor, in Xinjiang.
- June 5, 2020. The U.S Commerce Department sanctioned
33 Chinese firms and institutions accused of helping China spy on its
minority Muslim Uyghur population in Xinjiang or because of alleged ties
to weapons of mass destruction and China's military.
- May 22, 2020. The U.S. Department of Commerce sanctioned
33 Chinese companies and institutions to the Entity List. Of the 33, 24
are governmental and commercial organizations targeted for "supporting
procurement of items for military end-use in China." The remaining nine
entities consist of eight commercial entities and the China's Ministry
of Public Security's Institute of Foreign Science for being "complicit
in human rights violations and abuses committed in China's campaign of
repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor and high-technology
surveillance against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, and other members of
Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR)."
- October 8, 2019. The U.S. Department of State announced
a visa restriction policy for PRC and Chinese Communist Party officials
responsible for, or complicit in, human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
- October 7, 2019. The U.S. Department of Commerce sanctioned
28 Chinese public security bureaus and companies due to their alleged
roles in human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
- November 6, 2018. Western countries including France, Germany and the United States called on China to close down detention camps that activists say hold one million Uyghurs and other Muslims.
- August 30, 2018. The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said
that up to one million Uyghurs were being held involuntarily in
extra-legal detention in Xinjiang. It called for the immediate release
of those detained on the "pretext of countering terrorism."
- May 14, 2018. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) denounced the Chinese government's increasing crackdown on Uyghur Muslims.
Appendix 2. Documenting Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang – Think Tanks
In recent years, human rights activists, think tanks and scholars
have amassed and compiled overwhelming evidence of human rights abuses
March 2021. The Washington, D.C.-based Newlines Institute for
Strategy and Policy, in cooperation with the Montreal-based Raoul
Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, published a report, "The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China's Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention." It concluded: "China bears State responsibility for an ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs, in breach of the Genocide Convention."
March 2021. The Washington, D.C.-based Jamestown Foundation,
using evidence from Chinese sources, published an extensive report on
forced labor in Xinjiang. It determined
that there are "credible grounds for concluding" that labor practices
in Xinjiang meet the criteria for Crimes Against Humanity as defined
under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
December 2020. The Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy published a report,
"Coercive Labor in Xinjiang: Labor Transfer and the Mobilization of
Ethnic Minorities to Pick Cotton." The report, which provided new
evidence for coercion specifically related to cotton picking, concluded:
"It is very likely that a major share of cotton
production in Xinjiang is tainted with forced labor. In the absence of
the ability to conduct meaningful and independent audits of actual
working conditions, it must be assumed that any cotton from Xinjiang may
involve coercive labor, with the likelihood of coercion being very
"This has drastic implications for supply chains not only within
China, but also for countries such as India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, or
Pakistan, to which Chinese cotton yarn and fabric is exported and made
into clothing. These implications reach beyond Asia and into global
supply chains and related government policies."
September 2020. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report,
"Documenting Xinjiang's Detention System," identified and mapped more
than 380 suspected detention facilities in Xinjiang. This is the largest
database of Xinjiang's detention facilities in existence.
September 2020. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report,
"Cultural Erasure," revealed that the Chinese government had destroyed
or damaged at least 16,000 mosques in Xinjiang (65% of the total) in an
effort to systematically rewrite the cultural heritage of the Xinjiang
July 2020. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies published a report,
"Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region:
Toward a Shared Agenda." The document stressed the need for coordinated
action between companies, investors and governments to ensure that goods
entering the United States, Europe, and other democracies are not the
product of forced labor, "which often occurs several steps away from
global brands in supply chains."
June 2020. The Jamestown Foundation, in a report,
"Sterilizations, IUDs, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP's Campaign
to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang," documented measures to
forcibly suppress birthrates among ethnic Uyghur communities.
March 2020. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute in a report, "Uyghurs for Sale: 'Re-education,' Forced Labor and Surveillance Beyond Xinjiang," concluded:
"The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer
of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region
of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that
strongly suggest forced labor, Uyghurs are working in factories that are
in the supply chains of at least 82 well-known global brands in the
technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap,
Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen."
March 2020. The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China, in a report, "Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," stated:
"As many as 1.8 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz,
and other Muslim minorities are, or have been, arbitrarily detained in
the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The severe human rights
abuses, torture, political indoctrination, forced renunciations of
faith, and widespread and systematic forced labor occurring in mass
internment camps may constitute crimes against humanity under
"Global supply chains are increasingly at risk of being tainted with
goods and products made with forced labor from the XUAR. Intrusive
surveillance, restrictions on movement, and the inability to obtain
reliable information from workers at risk of detention and other
reprisals also makes it increasingly impossible to conduct due
diligence. The risk for complicity in forced labor is high for any
company importing goods directly from the XUAR or those partnering with a
Chinese company operating in the region....
"U.S. businesses and consumers should not be complicit in forced
labor and Chinese businesses should not profit from the forced labor of
Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minorities."
December 2019. The Journal of Political Risk published a report, "Beyond the Camps: Beijing's Long-Term Scheme of Coercive Labor, Poverty Alleviation and Social Control in Xinjiang." It concluded:
"Before long, it will be up to Chinese companies, and to
China as a whole nation, to prove to other countries that their exported
products do not involve any form of coerced ethnic minority labor.
Until Xinjiang's extrajudicial internment camp network and related
factories are fully shut down, and all forms of skills training and
related employment in the region are made completely voluntary, this
will be difficult or impossible to prove. Meanwhile, western and other
foreign companies must fully divest their supply chains not only from
Xinjiang, but also from Chinese companies with significant operations in
November 2019. In an analysis for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, China expert Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian exposed China's operating manuals for mass internment and arrest by algorithm.
October 2019. The Center for Strategic and International Studies published a report, "Connecting the Dots in Xinjiang: Forced Labor, Forced Assimilation, and Western Supply Chains." It concluded:
"Evidence suggests that large numbers of minorities in
Xinjiang are being subjected to forced labor. This occurs in three ways.
First, increasing numbers of minorities are being placed in the prison
system, where forced labor is a long-standing practice. Second, current
and ex-detainees are also forced to work in factories that are heavily
subsidized to incorporate ex-detainees in their operations. Last, there
is growing evidence that rural minorities are being coerced to work as
part of the government's 'poverty alleviation' program. Forced labor
occurs as part of the government's systematic and widespread attack on
minorities in Xinjiang, and the entities employing forced labor may be
complicit in crimes against humanity."
September 2019. In an analysis,
"How Companies Profit from Forced Labor in Xinjiang," China expert
Darren Byler documented how detainees in Xinjiang are being paid a
fraction of minimum wage, and how both Chinese and foreign companies are
July 2019. More than 20 Western countries, in a joint statement
to the UN Human Rights Council, called out human rights abuses by the
Chinese government in Xinjiang. They called for China to allow
meaningful access to Xinjiang for independent international observers,
including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
March 2019. China Leadership Monitor, "Under Xi Jinping, Xinjiang has emerged
as the party's incubator for a more assertive and coercive form of
nation-building and cultural re-engineering. The result is a surface
level calm that hides deep social and psychological anxieties while at
the same undermining cultural diversity and social trust."
November 2018. An investigation
by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Strategic
Policy Institute, using satellite imagery, identified and documented
the expansion of 28 detention camps in Xinjiang.
September 2018. Human Rights Watch, in a 117-page report, "Eradicating Ideological Viruses: China's Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang's Muslims," presented
evidence of the Chinese government's mass arbitrary detention, torture,
and mistreatment, and the increasingly pervasive controls on daily
May 2018. The Jamestown Foundation, in a report,
"New Evidence for China's Political Re-Education Campaign in Xinjiang,"
charted the history and present context of political re-education. It
also examined the recent evolution of re-education in Xinjiang in the
context of 'de-extremification' work.
March 2016. The Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham, in an article,
"Spatial Results of the 2010 Census in Xinjiang," wrote: "The 2010
census shows Xinjiang as having 21.82 million people; the 2000 census
registered 18.46 million.... The demographic trends also show a
population that is becoming less ethnically diverse with more Han
migrants. That is the future of Xinjiang's demography."
Appendix 3. Documenting Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang – Media
- "Yes, Xinjiang Is an Intentional Genocide: Beijing Wants to End the Uyghurs as a People," Peter Mattis, Foreign Policy, April 15, 2021.
- "Gynecologist Exiled From China Says 80 Sterilizations Per Day Forced on Uyghurs," Nicole Fallert, Newsweek, April 14, 2021.
- "'I Never Thought China Could Ever Be This Dark,'" Melissa Chan, The Atlantic, April 8, 2021.
- "China Attempts to Silence Western Companies On Xinjiang," Ethan Yang, American Institute for Economic Research, March 28, 2021.
- "Xinjiang Cotton: How do I Know if it's in My Jeans?" Alix Kroeger, BBC News, March 26, 2021.
- "The Uyghurs as Victims of Chinese National Socialism," Richard M. Ebeling, American Institute for Economic Research, February 8, 2021.
- "'Their Goal is to Destroy Everyone': Uighur Camp Detainees Allege Systematic Rape," Matthew Hill, David Campanale and Joel Gunter, BBC News, February 2, 2021.
- "UK Accuses China of 'Gross' Human Rights Abuses against Uighurs," BBC News, July 19, 2020.
- "China's Own Documents Show Potentially Genocidal Sterilization Plans in Xinjiang," Adrian Zenz, Foreign Policy, July 1, 2020.
- "China Cuts Uighur Births with IUDs, Abortion, Sterilization," Associated Press, June 29, 2020.
- "'Absolutely No Mercy': Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims," New York Times, November 16, 2019.
- "China Locks Down Xinjiang a Decade After Deadly Ethnic Riots," Dake Kang, Associated Press, July 6, 2019.
- "How China Uses Hi-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities, New York Times, Chris Buckley and Paul Mozur, May 22, 2019.
- "Western Companies Get Tangled in China's Muslim Clampdown," Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2019.
- "China's Hard Edge: The Leader of Beijing's Muslim Crackdown Gains Influence," Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2019.
- "How China Turned a City into a Prison," New York Times, Chris Buckley, Paul Mozur and Austin Ramzy, April 4, 2019.
- "After Mass Detentions, China Razes Muslim Communities to Build a Loyal City," Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2019.
- "China's Detention Camps for Muslims Turn to Forced Labor," New York Times, December 16, 2018.
- "China Treats Uighur Kids as 'Orphans' After Parents Seized," Yanan Wang and Dake Kang, Associated Press, September 22, 2018.
- "China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: 'Transformation.'" Chris Buckley, New York Times, September 8, 2018.
- "China's Jaw-Dropping Family Separation Policy," Sigal Samuel, The Atlantic, September 4, 2018.
- "China's Uighur Camps Swell as Beijing Widens the Dragnet," Eva Dou, Jeremy Page and Josh Chin, Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2018.
- "China Is Going to Outrageous Lengths to Surveil Its Own Citizens," Sigal Samuel, The Atlantic, August 16, 2018.
- "China: Xinjiang Camps Are Actually Vocational Schools for Criminals," Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2018.
- "'No Such Thing': China Denies U.N. Reports of Uighur Detention Camps," New York Times, August 13, 2018.
- "UN Panel Concerned at Reported Chinese Detention of Uighurs," Associated Press, August 10, 2018.
- "U.N. Says it has Credible Reports that China Holds Million Uighurs in Secret Camps," Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters, August 10, 2018.
- "'We're a People Destroyed': Why Uighur Muslims across China are Living in Fear," Gene A. Bunin, The Guardian, August 7, 2018.
- "Uighur Children Fall Victim to China Anti-Terror Drive," Emily Feng, Financial Times, July 10, 2018.
- "'It is About Xi as the Leader of the World': Former Detainees Recount Abuse in Chinese Re-education Centers," Nathan Vanderklippe, The Globe and Mail, July 3, 2018.
- "Muslims Forced to Drink Alcohol and Eat Pork in China's 'Re-education' Camps, Former Inmate Claims," Gerry Shih and Dake Kang, Independent, May 19, 2018.
- "China's Mass Indoctrination Camps Evoke Cultural Revolution," Gerry Shih, Associated Press, May 18, 2018.
- "A Summer Vacation in China's Muslim Gulag," Foreign Policy, February 28, 2018.
- "What It's Like to Live in a Surveillance State," James A. Millward, New York Times, February 3, 2018.
- "Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China's Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life," Wall Street Journal, Josh Chin and Clément Bürge, December 19, 2017.
- "AP Exclusive: Digital Police State Shackles Chinese Minority," Gerry Shih, Associated Press, December 17, 2017.
- "'A Police State of Unprecedented Scale': China is Tightening its Control over its Muslim Minority," Ben Dooley, Agence France-Presse (AFP), July 13, 2017.
Appendix 4. NGOs Fighting Human Rights Abuses in Xinjiang
Anti-Slavery International. In a statement, the group said:
"Now is the time for real action from brands, governments
and international bodies – not empty declarations. To end the slavery
and horrific abuses of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslim peoples
by the Chinese government, brands must ensure their supply chains are
not linked to the atrocities against these people. The only way brands
can ensure they are not profiting from the exploitation is by exiting
the region and ending relationships with suppliers propping up this
Chinese government system."
Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region. The group, consisting of more than 300 civil society groups, in October 2020 called
on Western apparel and textile brands to urgently exit the Uyghur
region at every level of their supply chains to prevent the use of
Global Labor Justice. Executive Director Jennifer Rosenbaum said:
"If responsible business conduct has any meaning, it
requires fashion brands to act when independent journalists, United
Nations human rights experts, and human rights NGOs expose grave human
rights abuses. Business and human rights principles require fashion
brands to stop using cotton and labor from the Uyghur Region in their
global supply chains."
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. Senior Program Director of Human Rights, David Schilling, said:
"Given the lack of leverage and the inability to prevent
or mitigate adverse human rights impacts, apparel brands and retailers
must take the necessary steps to end business relationships connected to
the Uyghur Region in order to fulfil their responsibility to respect
human rights as defined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and
Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders. This coalition of Chinese and international human rights non-governmental organizations estimated
that between two and three million people have been detained in
so-called re-education camps, or forced to attend "education sessions"
for indoctrination purposes in Xinjiang.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Naomi Kikoler, Director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, said:
"China's systematic campaign against the Uyghur
population is characterized by mass detention, forced labor, and
discriminatory laws, and supported through high-tech manners of
surveillance. There are reasonable grounds to believe that China is
responsible for crimes against humanity. It is important to recall that
crimes against humanity were born out of the experience of the Holocaust
and first were prosecuted at Nuremberg. Every government has committed
to protect their populations from crimes against humanity.
"In this case, there is a reasonable basis to believe that the
Chinese government is failing in this regard, and they are committing
the crimes against humanity of persecution and imprisonment or other
severe deprivation of physical liberty."
Uyghur Human Rights Project. Executive Director Omer Kanat said:
"Global brands need to ask themselves how comfortable
they are contributing to a genocidal policy against the Uyghur people.
These companies have somehow managed to avoid scrutiny for complicity in
that very policy — this stops today."
Worker Rights Consortium. Executive Director Scott Nova said:
"Forced laborers in the Uyghur Region face vicious
retaliation if they tell the truth about their circumstances. This makes
due diligence through labor inspections impossible and virtually
guarantees that any brand sourcing from the Uyghur Region is using