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China: Report highlights evidence for forced labour in Xinjiang

New evidence from Chinese government documents and media reports shows that hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority laborers in Xinjiang are being forced to pick cotton by hand through a coercive state-mandated labor transfer and “poverty alleviation” scheme… Xinjiang produces 85 percent of China’s and 20 percent of the world’s cotton … These findings have much wider implications, affecting all supply chains that involve Xinjiang cotton as a raw material … This report provides evidence for coercive labor related to all cotton produced in Xinjiang.

 

… State policies have greatly increased the numbers of local ethnic minority pickers … Cotton picking is grueling and typically poorly paid work. Labor transfers involve coercive mobilization through local work teams, transfers of pickers in tightly supervised groups, and intrusive on-site surveillance by government officials and (in at least some cases) police officers. Government supervision teams monitor pickers, checking that they have a “stable” state of mind, and administer political indoctrination sessions … The data presented in this report provides strong evidence that the production of the majority of Xinjiang’s cotton involves a coercive, state-run program targeting ethnic minority groups.

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