Textile associations in Xinjiang hit back at ‘forced labor’ allegation
Published: Mar 28, 2021 10:38 AM
Xinjiang cotton Photo: VCG

Xinjiang cotton Photo: VCG

Three textile-related industry associations based in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region struck back at some Western politicians' accusations that Xinjiang was using "forced labor" in textile companies, saying the accusations are groundless and vicious. 

The so-called "forced labor" allegation by some anti-China forces in the US and other Western countries targeting Xinjiang, is purely "political lies and disinformation," Xinjiang Textile Industry Association said in a statement published over the weekend. 

"The accusations are completely baseless…and we express our strong disapproval and condemnation, and our firm opposition to such slander, " read the statement. 

The association published the statement after some apparel brands and institutions openly declared that they would not use Xinjiang cotton in their products based on the aforementioned accusations. 

Those brands, including H&M and Nike, are facing a backlash in China as Chinese consumers have called for boycotts, and Chinese celebrities have announced to cut ties with those brands.

According to the statement, employees in Xinjiang's textile companies are well paid. They make around 3,500 yuan ($535) on average per month, far higher than the region's minimum wage. Many employees now have a better life and have helped lift their families out of poverty.

The association noted that Xinjiang textile companies provide substantial welfare benefits for the employees, such as offering free healthcare check-up, regular career safety education and plenty of skills training. 

"The mistaken action taken by certain international brands and organizations has trampled on the Xinjiang people's rights to increase earnings through work. We urge them to stop excluding Xinjiang cotton from their supply chains", read the statement. 

The association also said it welcomed international brands to visit Xinjiang's cotton-producing regions and textile companies to "independently understand the truth." 

Xinjiang Trade Promotion Association also released a statement, saying that it strongly opposes US anti-China forces' smearing of Xinjiang cotton and textile supply chains through fabricating the "forced labor" charge.

"In Xinjiang, farmers get to choose what they want to grow. Every link from growing to sales is free and independent. There's no reason or necessity to interfere," the statement said.

The Xinjiang Garment Industry Association also clarified that Xinjiang employees can choose their employers independently based on work environment and pay. The companies also sign labor contracts with them. 

"Whatever slander is employed by anti-China forces in the West, it will not stop Xinjiang's textile industries from developing," said their statement. 

Global Times