Xinjiang facility gate

New additions to TVPRA Forced Labor

The People's Republic of China has arbitrarily detained more than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in China's far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. (1) It is estimated that 100,000 Uyghurs and other ethnic minority ex-detainees in China may be working in conditions of forced labor following detention in re-education camps. (2) Many more rural poor workers also may experience coercion without detention. (3; 4) China has been included on the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor of Forced Labor (TVPRA List) since 2009. This year, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) is adding five goods produced by forced labor by Muslim minorities in China to the 2020 edition of the TVPRA List. These goods include gloves, hair products, textiles, thread/yarn, and tomato products.

The production of these goods through forced labor takes place primarily in Xinjiang. (5) While previous research has focused on goods and products produced in Xinjiang, recent external reports indicate that Uyghurs also have been transported to work in other provinces in China, increasing the number of goods potentially made with forced labor and broadening the risk of forced labor in supply chains. (5; 3) Other minorities may be forced to work under the guise of "poverty alleviation" without having been detained. (6) Moreover, the government gives subsidies to companies moving to Xinjiang or employing Muslim minority workers. (2) These practices exacerbate a demand for members of Muslim ethnic minority groups that the government wants placed in work assignments where they can be controlled and watched, as well as receive Mandarin Chinese training and undergo political indoctrination. (2) Once at a work placement, workers are usually subjected to constant surveillance and isolation. Given the vast surveillance state in Xinjiang and the threat of detention, individuals have little choice but to face the difficult situations present in these work assignments. (3)

The Department of Labor's (DOL) research utilized published victims' testimonies, and media and think tank reports, to determine the various industries implicated in this system of forced labor. Given the vast state-sponsored structure in place and the control of information, it is likely that more goods also are produced with forced labor in China. (7) In July 2020, the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, and Homeland Security released an advisory for businesses with potential ties to Xinjiang. This business advisory, as well as the TVPRA List and ILAB's Comply Chain due diligence tool for businesses, are practical guides for raising awareness and addressing this issue. Companies with supply chains that link to China, including, but not limited to, Xinjiang, should conduct due diligence to ensure that suppliers are not engaging in forced labor. With such severe and well-documented, widespread abuses, it is important that the world remains vigilant with respect to labor and goods linked to Xinjiang, including reasonable measures to guard against complicity in these violations.

Two Stories, One Goal: Repression

The People's Republic of China officially recognizes 55 ethnic groups in addition to the Han majority. Uyghurs are one of those groups. Along with other mostly Muslim minorities in China, Uyghurs confront abuse and discrimination in places like Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country.

Uyghurs detained in camps and forced to labor in factories must endure dreadful conditions. In one internment camp in Kashgar, Xinjiang, Uyghur detainees work as forced laborers to produce textiles. They receive little pay, are not allowed to leave, and have limited or no communication with family members. If family communication and visits are allowed, they are heavily monitored or cut short. When not working, the Uyghur workers must learn Mandarin and undergo ideological indoctrination. However, these abuses are not just limited to Xinjiang.

Beyond Xinjiang, in the coastal Chinese province of Fujian, Uyghur workers at a factory in Quanzhou face similar abuses. Uyghur workers are made to live in separate dormitories from Han workers. These dormitories are surrounded by an iron gate and security cameras. When finished for the day, often working more hours than their Han co-workers, the Uyghur workers are escorted back to their dormitories by provincial police officers from Xinjiang – not Fujian. The local police say the roll call is to ensure no one is missing. Uyghur workers at this factory are not allowed to exercise their free will to leave. Even if they could leave, they would not get far, as local police have confiscated their identification materials.

Sadly, these two stories fail to capture the individual struggles of the more than one million Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities arbitrarily detained in the far western region of Xinjiang and across China. These two stories are just a snapshot of the vast scale of abuse and serve as a notice for the world to ask questions, take action, and demand change.

Goods Produced by Forced Labor

Country/Area

Total Number of Goods Produced by Forced Labor

Good(s)

China

17

Artificial Flowers, Bricks, Christmas Decorations, Coal, Cotton, Electronics, Fireworks, Fish*, Footwear, Garments, Gloves*†, Hair Products*†, Nails, Textiles*†, Thread/Yarn*†, Tomato Products*†, Toys

Burma

13

Bamboo, Beans (green, soy, yellow), Bricks, Jade, Palm Thatch, Rice, Rubber, Rubies, Sesame, Shrimp, Sugarcane, Sunflowers, Teak

India

8

Bricks, Carpets, Cottonseed (hybrid), Embellished Textiles, Garments, Rice, Sandstone*, Stones

North Korea

7

Bricks, Cement, Coal, Gold, Iron, Textiles, Timber

Brazil

6

Cattle, Charcoal, Coffee*, Garments, Sugarcane, Timber

Pakistan

6

Bricks, Carpets, Coal, Cotton, Sugarcane, Wheat

Bolivia

5

Brazil Nuts/Chestnuts, Cattle, Corn, Peanuts, Sugarcane

Democratic Republic of the Congo

4

Gold, Tantalum Ore (coltan), Tin Ore (cassiterite), Tungsten Ore (wolframite)

Malaysia

4

Electronics, Garments, Oil (palm), Rubber Gloves*

Nepal

4

Bricks, Carpets, Embellished Textiles, Stones

Nigeria

3

Cocoa, Granite, Gravel (crushed stones)

Peru

3

Brazil Nuts/Chestnuts, Gold, Timber

Russia

3

Bricks, Pornography, Timber

Thailand

3

Fish, Garments, Shrimp

Burkina Faso

2

Cotton, Gold

Côte d’Ivoire

2

Cocoa, Coffee

Ghana

2

Fish, Tilapia (fish)

Indonesia

2

Fish, Oil (palm)*

Mexico

2

Chile Peppers, Tomatoes

Uzbekistan

2

Cotton, Silk Cocoons

Afghanistan

1

Bricks

Angola

1

Diamonds

Argentina

1

Garments

Bangladesh

1

Dried Fish

Benin

1

Cotton

Cambodia

1

Bricks*

Colombia

1

Coca (stimulant plant)

Dominican Republic

1

Sugarcane

Ethiopia

1

Textiles (hand-woven)

Kazakhstan

1

Cotton

Malawi

1

Tobacco

Mali

1

Rice

Niger

1

Cattle

Paraguay

1

Cattle

Sierra Leone

1

Diamonds

South Sudan

1

Cattle

Taiwan

1

Fish*

Tajikistan

1

Cotton

Turkmenistan

1

Cotton

Venezuela

1

Gold*

Vietnam

1

Garments

*=Additions to the List in 2020
†=Goods from China produced by forced labor by Muslim minorities, including Uyghurs