A newly released research report from the Center for Global Policy indicates that the Chinese are now forcing Uighurs to hand-pick cotton in the western province of Xinjiang, north of Tibet. Xinjiang produces 20% of the world supply of cotton. The report notes that hand-picked cotton is considered to be of higher quality than machine-picked, and that the government had previously used prison labor to pick the cotton, creating a “cotton gulag.” Now, through “poverty alleviation programs,” even more laborers are being forced into the back-breaking work.
But beyond the purported efforts at eliminating poverty (a long-stated goal of Chinese President Xi), the enslavement of the local population is an effort at population control. The report notes, “[W]orkers who work and live on secure compounds… are more easily controlled.” In addition, in some regions, working-age Uighurs are shipped off to state-assigned cotton-picking work assignments” while their children and elderly parents are cared for by the state.”
The report traces the roots of the desire for population control to 2014, after a series of violent attacks the government blamed on Uighur “terrorists.” Xi visited Xinjiang, and documents leaked to the New York Times reveal Xi ordered local officials to “rewire” the minds of the Uighurs. In 2016, Beijing hatchetman Chen Quanguo became Xinjiang’s Communist party secretary. He immediately “set up an unprecedented police state” in the region, followed in 2017 by the policy of mass internment of the local population.
Now, the Uighurs are being enslaved, to pick cotton.
The implications the report will have on world trade could be significant, considering the level of Chinese textile production.
The Trump Administration on December 2 placed a Withhold Release Order on cotton from the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which accounts for 33% of Xinjiang’s cotton production. It’s a start.
Unfortunately, with an incoming Biden Administration – compromised as it is by the Chinese Communist Party, among others – it will likely be an end, too. After all, this is the Administration reportedly considering Bob Iger for Ambassador to China. The same Bob Iger who until recently ran The Walt Disney Company.
You know, the company that just gave a special shout-out to the “publicity department of the CPC Xinjiang Uighur Autonomy Region Committee” – the local communist hacks currently oppressing the Uighurs – for their assistance in the recent big-budget production of the live-action movie, “Mulan.”