How Protestors Claiming to Fight Injustice May Be Supporting Forced Labor

Across the country, protestors have taken to the streets demonstrating against police brutality, racism, and history. But do these protestors, who claim to fight for justice and against inequality, know that the clothes they wear, the phones they use, or the cars they drive may have been made, in part, with slave labor?

Genocide is happening in China. Communist officials in the region of Xinjiang, also known as East Turkistan, have been detaining and “reeducating” men and women from the Uyghur ethnic minority in concentration camps. In these camps, women are abused, raped and injected with an unknown substance to prevent menstruation and pregnancy, and the men are tortured and must endure hours and hours of brainwashing in what the government considers its “fight against terror.”

Those that “graduate” from this torturous program are not allowed to return to their families or resume their lives, but most are forced to work as menial labor in factories across China. This ensures that the government can continue its indoctrination program, prevent family reunification, and ensure loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.

Those factories complete components or products for companies like Apple, Adidas, Amazon, Apple, Calvin Klein, Gap, General Motors, Google, Microsoft, Nike, Nintendo, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Volkswagen and various other companies.

A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) was even able to place Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, in one of these factories. The CEO visited O-Film Technology Co. Ltd in December 2017 and posted on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, “Say Cheese! Getting a closer look at the remarkable, precision work that goes into manufacturing the selfie cameras for iPhone 8 and iPhone X at O-Film.”

According to the ASPI report, “Between 28 April and 1 May 2017, 700 Uyghurs were reportedly transferred from Lop county, Hotan Prefecture, in Xinjiang to work at a separate O-Film factory in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. As with other labor transfers from Xinjiang described in this report, the work assignments for the Uyghurs sent to Jiangxi were highly politicized. The workers were expected to ‘gradually alter their ideology’ and turn into ‘modern, capable youth’ who ‘understand the Party’s blessing, feel gratitude toward the Party, and contribute to stability,’ a local Xinjiang newspaper wrote. Once in Jiangxi, they were managed by a few minders sent by Lop county who were ‘politically reliable’ and knew both Mandarin and the Uyghur language.”

Due to another “supply” of Uyghur workers, there are now more than one thousand Uyghurs working at O-Film.

So, when a protestor is videoing their exploits and wokeness on their iPhone to broadcast to the rest of the world, do they realize that this piece of technology may have been made with forced labor from the very Communist system that they endorse as the fix to society’s ills? Likely not.

The First Amendment gives Americans the freedom to speak about and demonstrate against injustice, racism, life, religion, or any other issue. In other countries, like China, people are not as fortunate.

Photo from CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS

 

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