The Uyghur Genocide

More than 1.8 million people are in camps in China

The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. They primarily follow Islam and speak the Uyghur language, a Turkic language. The Uyghurs have a distinct cultural and historical background, with influences from Central Asian, Persian, and Chinese civilizations.

Today, there are approximately 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim and Turkic people in detention and forced labor camps in Xinjiang, China. They are under nearly 24-hour-a-day surveillance. They are subjected to forced sterilization, organ harvesting, and labor. This has been described as the biggest internment of an ethnic and religious group since the Holocaust. You may not realize if but you probably have products in your home that passed through Uyghur slave labor.

The Chinese government treats the Uyghur minority as being less than human.

What can you do?

  1. Don’t buy Shein products. Their ads are everywhere and the products look great. These fast fashion items are made from cotton processed by the Uyghurs. Sign this petition to Shein to let them know #ForcedLabourFashion is not cool with you.
  2. Don’t buy from Volkswagen. It is the largest car company on earth. There is no reason it should have to rely on slave labor but it does. In its report “Driving Force,” Sheffield Hallam University exposes the global auto industry’s complicity in the exploitation of millions of Uyghurs in China. Uyghur labor produces just about every car part you can imagine. Tires, windows, the frames, axles, interiors, electronics, and even hood decals are all made by forced labor. Sign this petition to VW.
  3. Avoid Urban Outfitters. American retailer Urban Outfitters, like almost all companies, claims to prohibit forced labor in its supply chains, yet offers no credible explanation as to how it can do this considering its links to a region where all goods are likely to be tainted by forced labor. By continuing to operate in and maintain links to the region, fashion brands like these are complicit in what many have widely recognized as crimes against humanity. Tell them you agree by signing this petition.
  4. Avoid Anta Sports. Anta Sports is the largest Chinese manufacturer of sports clothing and gear. In addition to what it sells under its own brand name, the company owns 25 international brands including FILA, Wilson, Salomon, and Descente. Anta Sports is also the official supplier to the International Olympic Committee. It is nearly impossible to play a sport and not buy something that benefits the multinational giant. Headquartered in Xingjiang, China, Anta Sports’ supply chain is full of products that were processed by Uyghur labor. This needs to stop. Anta Sports has the power to make life better for millions of people in China. Tell them human rights matter by signing this petition.

Putting pressure on companies to stop supporting slave labor is great but there is more we all can do. We can contact our elected officials.

If you live in the United States, let Congress know this issue matters to you. Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives launched a bipartisan Congressional Uyghur Caucus. Contact your Member of Congress and ask them to join this important caucus. You can call them at 202–225–3121 or email me to get more information on how to reach your Congressperson and their staff.

There are also some bills you can support.

  1. Tell Congress to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act (H.R.4840)! Introduced by U.S. Representatives Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) and Carlos A. Giménez (R-FL), the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act (H.R.4840) requires publicly traded companies to be transparent and divulge any ties to Uyghur forced labor. It would allow both consumers and shareholders to make more informed decisions as they spend and invest their money. Contact your Member of Congress here.
  2. Tell Congress to pass the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act (H.R.1630 and S.1080). This bipartisan bill was introduced in the House by Representatives by Ted Deutch (D), Mario Diaz-Balart (R), Jennifer Wexton (D), and Chris Smith (R), and in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D), Marco Rubio (R), Jeff Merkley (D), and Thom Tillis (R). This bill designates Uyghurs as prioritized refugees of special humanitarian concern, making them eligible for Priority Two (P-2) processing under the refugee resettlement priority system. The P-2 designation enables refugees to access the U.S. refugee program without a referral from the UN High Commission for Refugees, an embassy, or an NGO. Examples include Iraqis associated with the United States and certain religious refugees from the former Soviet Union. Tell your Senators and Members of Congress to support this by going here.
  3. Tell your Members of Congress to support the Uyghur Policy Act. It has already passed the House so we need the Senate to act. This bill addresses human rights issues concerning the Uyghurs and other persecuted minority groups in China, particularly in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Tell your Senators to support this bill here.

Are you in Canada? Tell Your Senators: Support The Xinjiang Manufactured Goods Importation Prohibition Act (S-204). This bill in the Parliament of Canada amends the Customs Tariff to prohibit the importation of goods made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by forced labor. Reach out to your Senators by going here.

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