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Tags: china | uyghurs | forced labor | laws

U.S. Must Strengthen Forced Labor Laws

people wearing masks hold a sign and boxes that say iphone

Activists dressed like Uyghur forced labor camp workers staged a protest outside of an Apple store in March 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Callista Gingrich By Wednesday, 28 February 2024 04:32 PM EST Current | Bio | Archive

A report published on Feb. 14 revealed that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is continuing to target and enslave Uyghurs through an expansion of forced labor in China. Published by The Jamestown Foundation and authored by Beijing-banned academic Adrian Zenz, the report concluded, "Xinjiang currently operates the world's largest system of state-imposed forced labor."

The atrocities that the CCP perpetrates against members of ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang have come to light in recent years, including mass imprisonment of more than 1 million civilians, forced sterilization, separation of children from their families, torture, abuse, restrictions on religious freedom, and forced labor.

While most of China is composed of the Han ethnic group, more than half of the population of the northwestern region of Xinjiang consists of ethnic minorities (predominately Muslim Uyghurs) — whom the Party has long sought to control.

In 2021, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo determined that the CCP was committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang — a determination that Secretary of State Antony Blinken upheld. 

Though the horrific methods the CCP wields to subjugate these minority groups vary, the objective remains the same.

"It's a strategy of control and assimilation," Zenz told The New Yorker. "And it's designed to eliminate Uyghur culture."

Forced labor systems in Xinjiang — punishable by detention for noncompliance — are a key part of removing resistance and opposition to the CCP's absolute authority and power. In his report, Zenz pointed to two dominant systems used to target Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

In one system, detainees in China's infamous reeducation camps received coercive skills training before receiving coercive work placement. Detainees who were viewed as less problematic received a sentence of forced labor, while others, such as prominent business and intellectual figures, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Though it appears this system is no longer active, Zenz noted that the CCP is instead expanding its Poverty Alleviation Through Labor Transfer program. Zenz described this policy as "a noninternment, state-imposed forced labor mobilization system."

A Chinese academic research report, the Nankai Report, described the reeducation camps as a "drastic short-term measure" and the labor transfers as a long-term "method to reform, meld, and assimilate" Uyghurs.

But the bottom line is clear. "Xinjiang's recent policy changes have rendered forced labor less visible and more challenging to conceptualize," Zenz wrote. "Uyghur forced labor is becoming both more prevalent and more insidious."

The United States must take notice of these findings that disguise coerced labor as voluntary.

In 2021, Congress passed into law the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The law prohibits goods made by the CCP's forced labor programs from entering the U.S. market. However, numerous products tied to slave labor continue to evade legal protections and arrive in American households.

Chairman of the House Select Committee on the CCP Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., wrote a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas that outlined some of the key challenges to effectively enforcing this consequential law.

First, the members wrote, "Companies transfer forced laborers from [Xinjiang] to other regions in the People's Republic of China, complicating [U.S. Department of Homeland Security] enforcement of the presumptive ban on forced labor products from [Xinjiang]." Additionally, "[a] second factor undermining enforcement of the [law] is Beijing's increased transshipment of forced labor products to the United States through third countries."

Last week, to further augment and strengthen U.S. efforts in the fight against human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan and bicameral Uyghur Policy Act. This legislation, led by Rep. Young Kim, R-Calif., will authorize the State Department to appoint a special coordinator for Uyghur issues, direct the U.S. Agency for Global Media to distribute information on Uyghur genocide, and authorize support for Uyghur human rights activists.

As the CCP continues to target Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in China, the United States must strengthen the enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and resolve to pass the Uyghur Policy Act into law.

Fmr. Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich is the Chief Executive Officer of Gingrich 360, a multimedia production and consulting company based in Arlington, Virginia. Read Ambassador Callista Gingrich's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A report published on Feb. 14 revealed that the Chinese Communist Party is continuing to target and enslave Uyghurs through an expansion of forced labor in China.
china, uyghurs, forced labor, laws
Wednesday, 28 February 2024 04:32 PM
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