CFU PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 12:00 PM ET
Sabrina Sohail: email@example.com
Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) strongly condemns the systemic state-sponsored coercive labor practices outlined in Dr. Adrian Zenz‘s newly released report, “Coercive Labor in the Cotton Harvest in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Uzbekistan: A Comparative Analysis of State-Sponsored Forced Labor”. The report reveals the deeply embedded sociocultural contexts and authoritarian systems that have created coercive labor environments in both regions, which are not easily captured through standard measures such as the ILO forced labor indicators.
This new research by Dr. Zenz, who is a Senior Fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC), sheds light on the differences in rationale for coercion between the two regions, with Uzbekistan’s forced labor system making use of structural marginalization of people for economic exploitation, while the system in East Turkistan aims to achieve wider ethnopolitical goals. The report also notes that global sanctions targeted Uzbekistan’s economic rationale for coercion, leading to systemic change, “also due to the country’s strong need to attract more foreign investment”. However, in the absence of a concerted response by the international community, Beijing’s economic and long-term political aims in East Turkistan could mean that coercive labor transfers into cotton picking and related industries might persist for a long time to come.
“Beijing continues to exploit Uyghur labor to harvest cotton and boost economic output. It is high time for coordinated international efforts to end consumer complicity in this atrocity. In particular, the European Union must develop an instrument that not only counters common forms of forced labor in global supply chains, but that effectively targets systemic state-sponsored Uyghur forced labor,” Dr. Zenz said about the report.
CFU’s Executive Director Rushan Abbas said, “This report by Dr. Zenz reveals the deeply embedded and systemic dynamics of coercion that have perpetuated environments of ‘structurally forced consent’ in East Turkistan and Uzbekistan, leaving innocent Uyghurs powerless and at the mercy of China’s repressive state apparatus. These atrocities are hidden from plain sight, making them extremely difficult to detect and assess through conventional means. The international community must take swift and decisive action to put an end to these heinous practices and hold the perpetrators accountable for this genocide.”
While sanctions are necessary to avoid consumer complicity in these atrocities, CFU continues to urge the international community to take further action to end these coercive labor practices and hold China accountable for its crimes. In addition, CFU strongly implores companies to thoroughly examine their supply chains and take immediate, decisive actions to ensure that they are in no way, shape, or form contributing to or enabling these heinous human rights abuses. The time for passive observation has passed, and we reiterate our demand that all companies take an active stance against these atrocities and unequivocally demonstrate their commitment to upholding fundamental principles of human rights.