Implicated factories supply 83 multinationals . . .
According to a recently-released report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), global brands, such as Nike, Apple, Microsoft, and Bombardier, are among 83 multinationals identified as being supplied by Chinese factories that allegedly employ displaced Uyghurs under “conditions that strongly suggest forced labour.” The report estimates 80,000 Uyghurs, a Muslim-minority population from Xinjiang Province in Western China, have been displaced and transferred to factories across China from 2017 through 2019 under a central government policy known as ‘Xinjiang Aid.’
Surveillance beyond Xinjiang . . .
Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur population has attracted international attention and condemnation. Various news outlets have reported the existence of active detention camps, ideological training, and constant surveillance in the area. ASPI’s revelations about the Xinjiang Aid labour program indicate that Beijing’s Uyghur-focused campaign extends beyond Xinjiang’s borders. In December 2019, the Chinese government claimed Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities had been released from facilities in Xinjiang.
Corporate responsibility in the age of globalization . . .
Bombardier is the only Canadian company among the list of multinationals supplied by Chinese factories allegedly using forced Uyghur labour. The ASPI report raises questions about companies’ corporate responsibility and efforts to identify risk in relation to labour standards in their supply chains. And this is not the only example of human rights abuses in factories in Asia, with instances reported in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, and elsewhere. The ASPI report identifies the need for multinationals to dig deeper when it comes to independent due diligence and auditing of human rights issues in their supply chains.
- Australian Strategic Policy Institute: Uyghurs for sale
- Council on Foreign Relations: China’s Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang
- The Washington Post: China compels Uighurs to work in shoe factory that supplies Nike