'Uyghurs for sale' report
‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang.
By Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, Danielle Cave, Dr James Leibold, Kelsey Munro & Nathan Ruser
This report estimates that more than 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps.
In factories far away from home, they typically live in segregated dormitories, undergo organised Mandarin and ideological training, are subject to constant surveillance, and are forbidden from practicing Islam.
Government documents show that they are assigned minders and have limited freedom of movement.
Local governments and private brokers are paid a price per head by the Xinjiang provincial government to organise the labour assignments.
It is extremely difficult for Uyghurs to refuse or escape these work assignments, which are enmeshed with the apparatus of detention and political indoctrination both inside and outside of Xinjiang.
In addition to constant surveillance, the threat of arbitrary detention hangs over minority citizens who refuse their government-sponsored work assignments.
This report examines three case studies. The first one being a manufacturer for Nike in eastern China.
The factory is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences and police guard boxes. Outside work hours, the Uyghur workers attend a school where they study Mandarin, sing the Chinese national anthem and receive ‘vocational training’ and ‘patriotic education’. The curriculum closely mirrors that of Xinjiang’s ‘re-education camps’.
The Uyghur workers, unlike their Han counterparts, are reportedly unable to go home for holiday.
The second case study is on a factory in Anhui province, The Haoyuanpeng Clothing Manufacturing Co. Ltd, that claims to supply sportswear multinationals Adidas and Fila.
In 2018, the factory directly recruited Uyghur labor from a ‘re-education camp’ in Xinjiang. The company also recently set up a highly secure factory in Xinjiang’s Shule (Yengixahar) county.
In a recent interview, Haoyuanpeng President Zeng Yifa (曾亿法) told state media that he established a factory in Xinjiang because it was difficult to find young workers in other parts of China, or even abroad, concluding:
In the third case study, we identify several Chinese factories making components for Apple or their suppliers using Uyghur labour.
One company, O-Film Technology Co. Ltd manufactured the ‘selfie cameras’ for iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
In the last week of April 2017, 700 Uyghurs were transferred from Hotan Prefecture in Xinjiang to an O-Film factory in Jiangxi province.
The report includes an appendix that details the factories involved and the brands that appear to have elements of forced Uyghur labour in their supply chains.
It also makes specific recommendations for the Chinese government, companies, foreign governments and civil society organisations.