The United States on Tuesday added three Chinese companies to its forced labor entity list regarding Uyghurs. These companies - Xinjiang Tianmian Foundation Textile Co, Ltd.; Xinjiang Tianshan Wool Textile Co. Ltd., and Xinjiang Zhongtai Group Co. Ltd. - were targeted as part of efforts to eradicate forced labor practices within the U.S. supply chain. This action aligns with the 2021 Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Entity List, which restricts imports of goods produced in Xinjiang or by listed companies unless proof of no forced labor is provided. While U.S. officials allege the existence of forced labor for Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, Beijing denies any wrongdoing.
Despite China's opposition and threats, 27 nations united at a side event during the United Nations General Assembly to condemn ongoing human rights abuses against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang. Organized by the Atlantic Council's Strategic Litigation Project, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the event highlighted the global inaction that followed a damning U.N.-commissioned report from August 2023 that categorized the Uyghur atrocities as 'crimes against humanity.' The meeting urged the international community to address China's relentless campaign against its Uyghur population, citing prison terms, arbitrary arrests, surveillance and forced labor. While economic ties have deterred some nations from confronting China, efforts to expose complicit companies and advocate for human rights are growing, offering the possibility for change and the protection of Uyghur rights.
Wang Huning, a prominent Communist Party official, delivered a keynote address at a biennial conference held in Kashgar, southern Xinjiang, highlighting the critical need for the faithful implementation of Chinese Communist Party policies in the region. He spoke about the paramount importance of maintaining social stability and fostering a unified national community. During his address, Wang commended the ongoing 'assistance programs' in the region and called for the promotion of harmonious interethnic interactions within Xinjiang.
U.N. rights experts expressed alarm over forced separations and language policies in Xinjiang's state-run boarding schools, warning of potential forced assimilation. These policies favor Mandarin over Uyghur, endangering Uyghur cultural identities, according to a statement by three U.N. human rights experts. Local schools teaching Uyghur and minority languages are closing, and bilingualism is discouraged, causing grave human rights concerns, the experts noted.
The U.S. government issued an addendum to the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory on Tuesday, condemning China's ongoing genocide and forced labor practices in Xinjiang. The addendum was issued by several U.S. government agencies, including the Department of State, the Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. It urges businesses to conduct human rights due diligence when sourcing goods from China, following the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act guidelines.
China-linked hackers, identified as a group called EvilBamboo, are actively targeting Tibetans, Uyghurs and Taiwanese, seeking to gather sensitive data from their mobile devices. A report by U.S. cybersecurity firm Volexity reveals that the hackers spread malware through fake websites posing as popular messaging apps like Signal, Telegram and WhatsApp. They also use social media groups, such as Telegram, to promote malicious apps. The malware can collect device info and fingerprint browsers. This hacking campaign, ongoing since 2020, has shared more than 120 compromised Android apps. The attackers exploit the lack of official app support for languages such as Tibetan and Uyghur.
News in brief
Abduweli Ayup, a Uyghur linguist and advocate, received the 2023 Linguapax International Award for his remarkable efforts in preserving the Uyghur language and culture, despite facing persecution and exile due to Chinese government policies. Ayup's dedication included establishing Uyghur schools globally, publishing Uyghur literary works and organizing Uyghur language initiatives, emphasizing the urgent need to protect the Uyghur heritage. The award's financial support will aid Ayup's mission in nurturing the Uyghur language and culture for future generations.
Quote of note
"Uyghur and other minority children in highly regulated and controlled boarding institutions may have little interaction with their parents, extended family or communities for much of their youth."
- U.N. independent human rights experts Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues; Alexandra Xanthaki, special rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, and Farida Shaheed, special rapporteur on education