Large multinationals, including Apple and Nike, are targeted, accused of profiting from the exploitation of the Islamic population of the region. United Nations: One million Uyghurs interned in concentration camps. Tens of thousands of forced labor for major international brands. France: Stop violations, the UN intervenes.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The international protest against the Chinese authorities violation of human rights in Xinjiang is mounting. End Uyghur Forced Labor activists have accused some large multinationals, including Nike and Apple, of colluding with the Chinese government and profiting from the exploitation of the Uyghurs.
According to expert data, confirmed by the United Nations, over one million Uyghurs (out of a population of nearly 10 million) and other Turkic-speaking minorities of Islamic faith are arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang, which the local population calls "Eastern Turkestan".
Human rights activists and many governments, including the United States and the European Union, describe detention centers as internment camps. Beijing claims these are educational institutions to combat terrorism, separatism and Islamic extremism.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) maintains more than 80,000 Uyghur interns are employed in factories outside of Xinjiang as part of the government's "re-education" program. For the study's editors, these Chinese citizens are subjected to "forced labor", exploited by 83 major international brands.
Due to the abuses against the Uyghurs, the Trump administration has called on US companies to cut ties with their suppliers in Xinjiang, the same request made by End Uyghur Forced Labor. Nike and Apple responded that they have opened an investigation into the use of Uyghur workers and other local minorities.
Washington has already imposed sanctions on some Chinese officials believed to be responsible for the repressive campaign in Xinjiang. In recent days, the British government has not ruled out taking similar measures. The European Union is evaluating initiatives to force its companies to monitor the work of their suppliers in the autonomous region of China.
Meanwhile, the French government has said that the treatment reserved for Uyghurs by the Chinese authorities is "unacceptable" and represents a violation of human rights. Yesterday, in a speech to Parliament, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian asked China to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to enter Xinjiang:
"According to information that we read or have, there are imprisonment camps for Uyghurs, mass detentions, disappearances, forced labour, forced sterilisations, the destruction of Uyghur heritage,” Le Drian said.