In-Depth: Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) introduced this bill to require issuers of publicly traded securities to provide public reports about their activities in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, including the use of forced labor from Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps:
“I’ve met with members of the Uyghur community in my district who have told me heart-wrenching stories of family and friends in Xinjiang who have been brutally detained, pushed out of their homes, and pressed into forced labor. American companies should not be complicit in China’s abuse of its Muslim minorities. This legislation will help shine a light on these inhumane practices and provide needed transparency for investors. Once consumers see that the products we use every day -- from the shoes we wear to the phones we text on -- have been tainted by forced labor, I believe American companies will do the right thing and rethink their supply chains.”
Numerous global companies have been tied to the use of forced Uyghur labor in China, including sportswear companies like Nike, Adidas, and Puma and tech companies such as Lenovo and Samsung.
In early July, U.S. Customs & Border Protection seized a 13 ton shipment of hair weaves & beauty accessories shipped from China that was suspected to have been made from human hair taken from Uyghurs in a concentration camp.
This legislation has the support of five Democratic cosponsors. It’s similar to legislation known as the Slave-Free Business Certification Act, introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), which would require American companies to audit their supply chains and certify that there is no reliance upon forced labor or slavery. Hawley’s bill is somewhat broader in that it would apply globally, not just to Xinjiang, China.
Of Note: Human rights experts say that between 800,000 to 2 million Muslims have been detained indefinitely in reeducation camps since April 2017 because the Chinese Communist Party views them as a potential extremist or separatist threat. Detainees are interned without due process in the camps, where they are subjected to communist propaganda, forced to renounce Islam, and in some cases are beaten and tortured.
And the crackdown extends beyond the reeducation camps as well, with political and cultural indoctrination occurring in schools and authorities using compulsory collection of biometric data (like DNA & voice samples), artificial intelligence, big data, and movement restrictions to control the population. A Human Rights Watch report notes that the “human rights violations in Xinjiang today are of a scope and scale not seen in China since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution”, and explains the motivation behind it:
“Authorities have sought to justify harsh treatment in the name of maintaining stability and security in Xinjiang, and to “strike at” those deemed terrorists and extremists in a “precise” and “in-depth” manner. Xinjiang officials claim the root of these problems is the “problematic ideas” of Turkic Muslims. These ideas include what authorities describe as extreme religious dogmas, but also any non-Han Chinese sense of identity, be it Islamic, Turkic, Uyghur, or Kazakh. Authorities insist that such beliefs and affinities must be “corrected” or “eradicated.”
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: iStock.com / unterirdisch)