Xinjiang energy companies refuted the US sanctions over the hyped 'forced labor' illusion and condemned the move as a real violation of human rights
Published: Jul 14, 2021 11:06 PM
Members of staff work at the Shichengzi photovoltaic power station in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, April 24, 2020. Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region transmitted 300 billion kWh of electricity outside the region over a decade, said the State Grid's Xinjiang branch Saturday. The electricity transmission helped China's central and eastern regions reduce about 96 million tonnes of coal use, and cut carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by 259.2 million tonnes and 816,000 tonnes, respectively. (Xinhua/Zhao Ge)

Members of staff work at the Shichengzi photovoltaic power station in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, April 24, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Several Xinjiang-based energy companies jointly expressed their strong indignation and protest on Wednesday for the US' violation of the rights of their businesses and workers by including them in the entity list based on groundless claims. Such a move is causing unemployment and poverty and is a serious violation of human rights, the companies warned in their statement.

"We will resolutely take all necessary countermeasures to safeguard the image of Xinjiang photovoltaic (PV) enterprises and resolutely safeguard our legitimate rights and interests," according to the statement.

This came after the recent move by the US Department of Commerce that included several domestic private companies from Xinjiang in its entity list under the guise of groundless allegations of 'suspected violations of the rights of ethnic minorities in the region.'

Four Chinese energy companies, Xinjiang Daqo New Energy, Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co, Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan) Co, and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology, expressed their strong indignation and solemn protest against the US' wanton and unreasonable sanctions, calling the move unjustified and groundless.

In a response to the US' relentless hyping of alleged 'forced labor', the companies included on the list have made it clear that they hire staff through online, internal and campus recruitment or other legal channels, and workers voluntarily sign a labor contract with the unit they choose.

"The company guarantees equal employment for employees of all ethnic groups in accordance with the law and there is no discrimination whatsoever," said the statement.

Workers' rights to remuneration, rest and vacation, labor safety and health, social insurance and welfare are all protected in accordance with the law.

The companies have implemented a working system of 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week and also guarantee that the employees enjoy the right of legal holidays and vacation days.

In addition to that, paid annual leave, family leave, year-end bonus and other benefits are provided to all their workers, not to mention that workers' religious beliefs, ethnic customs, language and other rights and interests are fully respected and protected in accordance with the law, the companies said.

Regardless of these improvements on the protection of the rights of workers, the US government chose to disregard the objective fact that people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang voluntarily seek working opportunities and start their own businesses and has taken various measures to restrict and suppress PV enterprises in Xinjiang under the guise of "forced labor" allegations. 

"Using lies as a script and the guise of human rights, the US government has seriously infringed the development rights of our enterprises and the labor rights of workers of these enterprises, which is a typical case of 'forced unemployment' and 'forced poverty'," the companies noted.

The companies warn the US government to immediately stop spreading false information and imposing unreasonable sanctions based on lies.

"This is a serious damage to the international economic order, a serious threat to the security of the global industrial chain and will ultimately harm the interests of all parties in the world's photovoltaic industry chain," the statement said.

The US' plot against Xinjiang energy companies came with a clear and ugly attempt to protect their own companies by squeezing their Chinese competitors, which after years of dedication, have been the pillar of the global supply chain, industry insiders said.

The annual production capacity of China's polysilicon in 2021 is estimated to reach 567,000 tons, accounting for more than 85 percent of the world, while Xinjiang accounts for 57 percent of the country's total output, Dai Yanling, a seasoned PV expert in China, previously told the Global Times.

By contrast, less than 5 percent of the world's polysilicon is produced by US companies, which indicates that the US is almost entirely dependent on Chinese manufacturers for solar modules, according to media reports.

"Given this context, the US, by blocking Chinese companies, will eventually disrupt their own companies in the field," an industry insider told the Global Times.