Several dozen Chinese subcontractors of major international brands are said to use workers from the Uighur minority. A new report from the Australian research center ASPI (Australian Strategic Policy Institute), released on 1st March, reveals that these workers are being made available as part of a state labor transfer program from the Uighur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang to the provinces of the rest of China under conditions which " suggest forced labor ".
At least 80,000 Uighurs have been employed by Chinese factories that are part of the supply chains of large companies like Nike, Fila, Apple and others, between 2017 and 2019. The program is called "Yuan Jiang", or "Help Xinjiang". He is the heir to a long list of initiatives aimed at further integrating, in the name of economic development, a Turkish-speaking and Muslim people who have been living more and more badly in recent years, the repression by the Chinese regime of their religion, culture and aspirations for more political autonomy.
The ASPI researchers, including James Leibold – a Chinese ethnic policy specialist who has been studying the Xinjiang case for years – have chosen to shine a spotlight on what they describe as a "New phase in the social reengineering campaign". This period has led to the forced internment, as of 2017, of approximately one million Uighurs, for at least one year, in "vocational training centers" run in prison. They had to endure incessant sessions of political indoctrination at the risk of having their stay extended indefinitely or of being sentenced to prison.
Subsidies for each worker transferred
In addition to the recruitment, already revealed by several surveys, of part of the students "Graduates" In industrial parks in Xinjiang, cohorts of ex-internees – but also "deserving" Uighurs, including family members who may have been interned – are therefore also distributed in Chinese factories in the rest of China.
In February 2018, a company from Anhui province, Haoyuanpeng Clothing Manufacturing, which presented itself as a partner of Fila, Adidas and Puma, recruited sixty-three "graduates" from a "center of vocational training ”from the rural district of Payziwat, near Kachgar, and expressed the wish to eventually receive five hundred. The factories of a South Korean supplier to Nike in Shandong, Qingdao Taekwang Shoes, have welcomed six hundred Uighur workers since January. The Chinese press has enthusiastically described their joy at finding work and being able to attend Mandarin and "Patriotic Education" classes each evening.