The Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s (ASPI) International Cyber Policy Centre published a report on Monday, 13th July 2020, that implicates 83 global brands in a forced labour scandal. This report it titled Uyghurs for Sale and you can see the main details here.
According to the above-mentioned report; over one million Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim groups have been forcefully locked up since 2017 in Xinjiang, China.
Also, while these persecuted minorities are sent to ‘reeducation camps’ their plights are only just starting. They first allegedly undergo political indoctrination and have to forcefully give up their religion. It doesn’t end there as well.
There are claims that they are forced to work in several factories within Xinjiang and outside it as well. A paragraph from the report reads:
“The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has identified 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that are using Uyghur labour transferred from Xinjiang since 2017. Those factories claim to be part of the supply chain of 83 well-known global brands.”
Under a government policy termed ‘Xinjiang Aid’, the authorities have assigned an estimated 80,000 Uyghurs to various factories.
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The researchers mention that they drew resources from open-source Chinese language documents, satellite imagery analysis, academic research and on-the-ground media reporting. They were able to finger some of the following top tech brands as beneficiaries of this forced labour system:
Acer, Amazon, Apple, ASUS, Bosch, Cisco, Dell, General Motors, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Nokia, Nintendo, Samsung, Sony and many others.
This data is allegedly based on published ‘supplier lists’ and the implicated factories’ claimed suppliers. ASPI mentions that a small number of brands have given their vendors a mandate to cut ties with the flagged suppliers.
Bosch on its part denied having any existing contract with the suppliers implicated in the reports. The other details of the report are chilling. For example, it reveals that the Xinjiang authorities pay a price per head to local governments and private brokers to organise labour assignments.
Additionally, these Uyghurs workers could not go home for holidays, unlike other employees. Their working environment has barbed wire fences, watchtowers and police guard boxes like a prison compound.
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