Apple, BMW, Nike, others lead global brands using forced labour in China

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A UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission report has named Apple, BMW, Huawei and other global brands benefitting from the forced labour of Uyghur Muslims in communist China.

According to the report, the popular sportswear maker, Nike was also identified as one of the benefitting companies.

According to the report, the brands encourage the practice by getting supplies from factories using forced labour.

The report quoted by the Daily Mail, revealed that in the last five years, forced labour has become very rampant “throughout China in factories which are part of the supply chain of major international corporations”.

It described the ubiquity of forced labour in China as “most shocking” and “modern slavery”.

The report further stated that UK consumption was fuelling the practice, noting that this could “no longer be tolerated”.

Two authors of a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) about the forced labour of Uyghurs, Vicky Xiuzhong Xu and Nathan Ruser, gave evidence to the Commission in an online hearing, Daily Mail further reported.

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They were said to have told the commission that the Chinese government in 2019 transported Uyghur Muslims from their abode in Xinjang Province to other provinces to work.

They said that this central government’s policy led to ‘tens of thousands of people pushed out of their homes every year and sent to eastern provinces to work in the supply chains of international brands.”

They further told the commission that the Uyghur Muslims so transported were made to work “under heavy surveillance” in prison-like conditions and forced to “attend Mandarin Chinese language classes and political indoctrination classes”.

ASPI said that there were at least 27 factories in nine Chinese provinces that are using Uyghur labour transferred from Xinjang since 2017.

Reacting, BMW denied knowledge of such practice by its suppliers, noting that “as a matter of principle the BMW Group contractually obliges all 1st-tier (direct) suppliers to comply with human rights, labour and social standards.

“These suppliers must demand these same requirements from their sub-suppliers.”

Volkswagen said that none of its products being sold in Europe was made in China.

“We represent and live our standards and values in China and ensure that our work with all Volkswagen Groups factories, distribution companies and suppliers is based on our principles: respect for minorities, employee representation, as well as social and labour standards.

“Our Business Partner Code of Conduct is contractually binding for our direct suppliers,” the company added.

Nike also said it was not sourcing materials for its products from the regions where Uyghur Muslims were being forced to work.

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