In an advisory, the US State Department has warned American companies of the potential exposure they could face from maintaining supply chains with entities that engage in human rights abuses including the forced labor of Uighurs, ethnic Kyrgyz, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslim minority groups, in China’s Xinjiang region and beyond.
“Today, the U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is issuing an advisory to caution businesses about the risks of supply chain links to entities that engage in human rights abuses, including forced labor in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China,” the State Department said in a statement.
“Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has ramped up its campaign of systematic repression of Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups that includes widespread arbitrary detention and forced labor. Targeted against ethnic and religious minorities, the People’s Republic of China’s use of forced labor is no longer confined to the Xinjiang region but is increasingly taking place across China through PRC government-facilitated arrangements with private-sector manufacturers,” it added further.
The Advisory builds on the ‘Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020’ authorizing the President to impose sanctions on persons, including Chinese government officials, determined to be responsible for certain human rights violations and abuses committed against Muslim minority groups in China or elsewhere.
A New York-based think tank has said in its report that the Chinese government has reportedly detained more than a million Muslims in reeducation camps.
“Most of the people who have been arbitrarily detained are Uighur, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group primarily from China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang,” the think-tank has said.
Human rights organizations, UN officials, and many foreign governments are urging China to stop the crackdown. But Chinese officials maintain that what they call vocational training centers do not infringe on Uighurs’ human rights.