This headline isn’t breaking news. But it is important and people need to wake up to the problem. I say this on the heels of the NBA being in China’s back pocket and pressure from Nike to change the Redskins team name.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is an Australian, non-partisan Think Tank that does research into many different strategies, securities, and practices internationally for the Australian government. In February of this year they released a report titled “Uyghurs for sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang“. This comprehensive case report goes into great detail about the absolute Human Rights violations going on in the country of China and how they are treating the Uyghur people as second class citizens, violating their own Chinese constitution and basic international rules of law.
The “Re-education camps” as they’ve been coined in the media, which are really modern day concentration camps, for the Uyghurs have gotten some attention but nothing nearly with the vigor and outrage that other non-important stories have raged on for days about in this country. People kind of are aware about this political movement against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang (Northwest), China but they really don’t know just how deep the program runs.
As this report details, China is looking to basically diminish the entire culture of the Uyghur people in order to force assimilate them into the Chinese Communist Party’s lifestyle and ideals. They do this through a variety of methods, including physical and psychological intimidation. The suppression of their religion is also at the foundation of this initiative. Forcing people into conversion camps for years has created an army of laborers that the CCP is looking to disperse and exploit all throughout China. This sort of ethnic cleanse is what Xi Jingping and China’s government is looking to brainwash and abate their own citizens in order to obtain labor and compliance.
Now Nike obviously has a history of grotesque human rights violations with their contracted manufacturing plants across the world. I talked yesterday about the irony and hypocrisy that Nike displayed when pressuring the Washington Redskins to change their name due to its offensive nature, yet they still don’t do much in regards to fair wages and good working conditions for their signature offshoring strategy that they have made billions of dollars of profit using. Nike isn’t the only company to do this, and it has become an accepted fact of Western civilization that many products shipped in from overseas are from a place of slave/child labor. It’s a tough pill to swallow.
So, it’s not really surprising to find out that this report unveils the fact that one of Nike’s largest shoe factories, that produces 7million shoes each year, is occupied by almost 600 Uyghur women who were transferred from their homes in Xinjiang to the Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. Ltd Factory to manufacture shoes for the Swoosh. These women are kept in segregated areas from the other workers, and have mass surveillance methods put in place to watch their actions closely. Nike has said they will “assess the situation” whatever that means.
This report doesn’t just expose Nike, though. It exposes almost every multinational enterprise that has spent years transferring their manufacturing and supply chains over to China in order to feed the bottom line. All these brands are complicit: Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nintendo, Polo Ralph Lauren, General Motors, Foxconn, and so many others are companies that have been attached to different factories across China that have been importing CCP government sponsored labor of the Uyghurs over the last 3 years. It is now an important link of China’s grasp on the global supply chain.
This is a diaspora and maybe even attempt at genocide of the Uyghur people. It’s appalling that this report has been out for almost 6 months and really no one has even mentioned it. It’s time for China’s peers and counterparts to hold China accountable for these gross misconducts.
I recommend looking through this case study, the data and reporting is staggering and jaw dropping. The CCP is literally incentivizing factories and brokers to import in cheap, Uyghur labor and are promising them that the “graduates” of the re-education camps will be complicit and work hard – sometimes over 100 overtime hours a month. It’s like a plot of Black Mirror. They have named the program “Xinjiang Aid”.
This needs to stop and companies need to realize that their “corporate social responsibilities” lie much larger than just being a buzzword in a business ethics course. It needs to apply to everyone. MNE’s have to demand serious audits of what is going on in China and how the people are being treated. Consumers can no longer just sit around and let these hypocritical organizations lecture us about how to treat others when they are allowing things 15x worse just so they can help the bottom line. If the CCP doesn’t change their totalitarian ways then it is time for businesses to migrate out of China and actually begin to fulfill their missions and promises that they love to boast about.
I doubt anything will truly change but just remember this next time a commercial from Apple, Amazon, or Nike tells you how to live your life.