International News

'Evidence of forced Uyghur labour' in China is 'credible' according to UK foreign minister

The statement comes in response to a report from the BBC alleging that many international clothing brands use cotton which is grown in East Turkestan, the homeland of the Uyghur people.

Noah David Alter Toronto
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United Kingdom Foreign Office Minister Nigel Adams told the nation's Parliament on Wednesday that the evidence that Uyghurs are subject to forced labour in China is "credible," Reuters reports.

"Evidence of forced Uighur labour within Xinjiang, and in other parts of China, is credible, it is growing and deeply troubling to the UK government," Adams said.

The statement comes in response to a report from the BBC alleging that many international clothing brands use cotton which is grown in East Turkestan, the homeland of the Uyghur people.

The United States earlier this month banned the importation of cotton from China due to concerns over the forced labour of Uyghurs.

"We have reasonable but not conclusive evidence that there is a risk of forced labor in supply chains related to cotton textiles and tomatoes coming out of Xinjiang," said US Customs and Border Patrol Executive Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith.

The ban could have serious affects on the international clothing industry, as approximately 20 percent of the world's cotton is grown in China, most of which comes from East Turkestan.

Many other brands including Nike, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have been alleged to benefit from Uyghur slave labour in China. Such allegations have been supported by the Canadian government, which said in a report from October that Uyghur "forced labour is integrated into the supply chains of many large international corporations and contributes to the production of many products sold in Canada and other western nations."

The Canadian report further described the ongoing events in East Turkestan as a genocide and "the largest mass detention of a minority community since the Holocaust." The Chinese communist government has consistently denied the existence of their ongoing genocidal policies.

Both Adams and the Canadian report agreed that more must be done to prevent the importation of products made from slave labour in China.

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