Xinjiang condemns US' sanctions on PV companies as 'completely illegal and a piece of waste paper'
Published: Jul 13, 2021 11:57 PM
Solar panels made by a company in Xinjiang's Hami. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

Solar panels made by a company in Xinjiang's Hami. Photo: Liu Xin/GT

On Tuesday, the legislative and political advisory bodies of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region, as well as the regional government, expressed their strong condemnation and opposition against US' sanctions on four Xinjiang Photovoltaic (PV) enterprises, saying they are "completely illegal" and their "vicious intention is to contain Xinjiang's solar industry."  

On June 25, the US Commerce Department included five Chinese entities to the US economic blacklist over unproven "forced labor" allegations in Xinjiang. In a response to media reports on the measure, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China would take "all necessary measures" to protect the rights and interests of Chinese companies.

The Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region People's Congress, the regional government, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), issued three statements on Tuesday slamming the sanction as "a piece of waste paper." 

PV enterprises are legally registered in Xinjiang and workers sign contracts on the basis of equality, free will and consensus. The enterprises fully respect and protect the rights and interests of workers of all ethnic groups, including their religious beliefs, ethnic customs, and spoken and written languages, and there is no such issue as "forced labor," the standing committee of the regional people's congress said in a statement. 

In another statement, the Xinjiang regional government pointed out that employees from different ethnic groups in Xinjiang PV enterprises are mostly engineers and technical workers with professional knowledge and skills who apply for jobs through legal channels, such as online, campus and talent recruitment. 

In order to better protect the basic rights of workers, the Xinjiang regional government continuously increases labor security supervision and law enforcement, prevents and combats violations of labor security laws and regulations, effectively strengthens labor dispute mediation and arbitration to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the workers, according to the statement from the regional government. 

The US ban and illegal measures against PV companies in Xinjiang are nothing but a piece of waste paper, the standing committee of the regional people's congress said, noting that such practices not only aroused great indignation among the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, but also were condemned by most members of the international community.

The regional government also noted that Xinjiang occupies a major position in the global silicon-based materials manufacturing industry and has become a "thorn in the side" for anti-China forces of the West. 

The US fabricated the fallacy of "forced labor" in Xinjiang PV enterprises out of thin air, with the aim of forcing local PV enterprises to reduce and stop production or move out of Xinjiang, which is a serious violation of international trade rules and market economy principles, and undermines the global industrial and supply chain, fully exposing the sinister intentions of the US to contain China over Xinjiang, the regional government said. 

The sanctions will not have any substantial impact on the PV industry in Xinjiang but will only make the international community further recognize their hypocritical face and evil intentions, the regional committee of the CPPCC said in the statement.

"The fact proves that the US is not concerned with facts or with human rights of the Xinjiang people. Their repeated use of administrative power to suppress these important industries in Xinjiang is a vain attempt to create 'forced unemployment' and 'forced poverty' to deprive Xinjiang people's rights to survive and develop, leaving them in poverty, isolation and backwardness to achieve their sinister goal of causing chaos in Xinjiang," the statement said.

On the other hand, the regional authority pointed out that the US has committed serious crimes and offences in its treatment of labor issues. It has not signed most of the international labor conventions so far. The phenomenon of "modern slavery" such as sweatshops, illegal child labor and human trafficking is shocking. The report on human trafficking released by the US acknowledges that the US is a source, destination and transit country for human trafficking with severe problems of forced labor, forced prostitution and debt slavery. Even US officials are involved in human trafficking and forced labor.

"We firmly support PV companies in Xinjiang in safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests through legal means and urge relevant US agencies to respect facts, abandon bias, stop political manipulation and rollback the wrong decision of imposing sanctions," the statements said. 

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