83 Global Brands Still Using Chinese Slave Labour

Chinese slave labour brands
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A new report has named and shamed 83 global brands using slave labour in their supply chain, namely Uyghur Muslims in China forced to work in factories. 

The report comes from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, named “Uyghur for Sale”, and it says that brands like Apple, Nike, Samsung, H&M, Amazon and a host more are utilising forced labour in their factories. 

Authors of the report say that the Chinese government was supplying a labour force in excess of 80,000 in a “systematic way” that saw Uyghur Muslims transported from the Xinjiang province to factories around China. 

“The ASPI has identified 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that are using Uyghur labour transferred from Xingjiang since 2017. Those factories claim to be a part of the supply chain of 83 well-known global brands.”

The United Nations estimates more than a million Uyghur Muslims have been put into re-education or forced labour camps by the Chinese Communist Party. 

“Between 2017-2019, we estimate that at least 80,000 Uyghurs were transferred out of Xingjiang and assigned to factories through labour transfer programmes under a Central government policy known as ‘Xingjiang Aid’.”

Brands listed by the report include: Apple, ASUS, Victoria’s Secret, Vivo, Puma, Jack & Jones, Sharp, Siemens, Volkswagen, Sony, Polo Ralph Lauren, GAP, Amazon, Abercrombie & Fitch, BMW, Huawei, Nike, Sketchers and more. 

Uyghur slave labour
Graphic: Yip Wong, ASPI

Slave labour is said to make up a significant portion of the supply chains for major global brands, with the ASPI adding that “it is extremely difficult for Uyghurs to refuse or escape these work assignments, which are enmeshed with the apparatus of detention and political indoctrination both inside and outside of Xinjiang.” 

“In addition to constant surveillance, the threat of arbitrary detention hangs over minority citizens who refuse their government-sponsored work assignments.” 

The ASPI’s research led them to government documents from September, 2019, which showed that 560 Xinjiang labourers were transferred to Foxconn Technology’s Zhengzhou factory. Foxconn is a Taiwanese contractor with clients like Apple, Sony and Dell, and manufactures nearly half of the world’s iPhones. The city of Zhengzhou is often called ‘iPhone City.’

A report from New York-based China Labour Watch showed that workers at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factories would often put in 100 hours overtime each month, and the factory has had to install suicide nets to curb the rate of workplace deaths. 

“The workers in these factories are brought and kept in dormitories after they finish their ‘re-education’ in the camps. In their work place, they lead a harsh and segregated life. They are forbidden to practice religion and are required to compulsorily take Mandarin lessons,” the report reads. 

“Most strikingly, local governments and private brokers are paid a price per head by the Xinjiang provincial government to organise the labour assignments.” 

The ASPI’s report also quotes a Uyghur worker who said that “we were all former ‘re-education camp’ detainees and were threatened with further detention if they disobeyed the government’s work assignments. The police regularly search our dormitories and check our phones for any religious content. If a Quran is found, the owner will be sent back to the ‘re-education camp’ for 3-5 years.” 

The total list goes as follows: 

Abercrombie & Fitch, Acer, Adidas, Alstom, Amazon, Apple, ASUS, BAIC, Motor, BMW, Bombardier, Bosch, BYD, Calvin Klein, Candy, Carter’s, Cerruti 1881, Changan Automobile, Cisco, CRRC, Dell, Electrolux, Fila, Founder Group, GAC Group (automobiles), Gap, Geely Auto, General Motors, Google, Goertek, H&M, Haier, Hart Schaffner Marx, Hisense, Hitachi, HP, HTC, Huawei, iFlyTek, Jack & Jones, Jaguar, Japan Display Inc., L.L.Bean, Lacoste, Land Rover, Lenovo, LG, Li-Ning, Mayor, Meizu, Mercedes-Benz, MG, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Mitsumi, Nike, Nintendo, Nokia, The North Face, Oculus, Oppo, Panasonic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Puma, Roewe, SAIC Motor, Samsung, SGMW, Sharp, Siemens, Skechers, Sony, TDK, Tommy Hilfiger, Toshiba, Tsinghua Tongfang, Uniqlo, Victoria’s Secret, Vivo, Volkswagen, Xiaomi, Zara, Zegna, ZTE.

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