Green Energy Without Exploitation: Rejecting Uyghur Forced Labor

CFU PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

February 16, 3:30 PM

Contact: contact@campaignforuyghurs.org

+1 650-703-4523

Campaign for Uyghurs www.campaignforuyghurs.org    

On February 15, 2024, in Brussels, Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) participated in the European Solar Manufacturing Council’s Trilogue addressing state-sponsored forced labor within renewable energy supply chains, focusing on the pervasive use of Uyghur forced labor in the solar industry. In 2023, 35% of the world’s solar-grade polysilicon and 32% of metallurgical-grade silicon were produced in East Turkistan.  

At the start of the event, MEP Reinhard Bütikofer underscored the blatant nature of state-sponsored and mandated forced labor in the People’s Republic of China, especially in the Uyghur Region. He offered a stark warning: “If you’re invested in Xinjiang, get out. If you want to source, keep products of forced labor out of our market.” 

CFU Executive Director Rushan Abbas, emphasized the critical link between energy independence and national sovereignty, “If Europe remains dependent on a genocidal dictatorship for energy, you compromise your future. You compromise the autonomy to pursue policies that are in line with democratic values.” She added, “I challenge the European Union, your government, and all governments to take decisive steps to meet your obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.”  

Dr. Adrian Zenz, Senior Fellow and Director in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, outlined the CCP’s politically motivated forced labor system, involving control over economic policy, incentivizing enterprises, and fostering a coercive social environment. Dr. Zenz shared insights from his latest report, “Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Assessing the Continuation of Coercive Labor Transfers in 2023 and Early 2024.” His findings reveal that forced labor transfers in 2023 exceeded previous years and surpassed state-mandated quotas. Additionally, the report shed light on the CCP’s heightened employment and training requirements, “aiming to ensure employment for every able person, as mandated in the 14th Five-Year Plan.” The report indicated that the state’s so-called “poverty alleviation” policies are to continue at least through 2025.

Patricia Carrier, Business Engagement Lead for the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labor, cited findings of forced labor in the solar supply chain, China’s poor environmental practices, and noted the industry’s sluggish collective response. She stressed “Solar is very much key to a transition to clean energy. However, it cannot be pursued at the cost of egregious human rights abuses, and it certainly cannot rely on coal.”

Johan Lindahl, a representative from the European Solar Manufacturing Council, along with Anja Lange from First Solar, were instrumental in conveying the industry’s commitment to clean, ethical, and sustainable energy solutions. During her closing remarks, MEP Anna Cavazzini stated “It is important to continue the work between business communities, NGOs, and researchers, but also parliamentarians to really achieve the common goal of having products without forced labor and a strong solar industry in Europe.”

CFU commends the European Solar Manufacturing Council for convening this important event which sends a clear message that forced labor should have no place in the solar supply chain in Europe or elsewhere. CFU urges tangible actions on Europe’s first legislation to ban products made of forced labor to effectively combat CCP’s state-imposed forced labor against the Uyghur community. 

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Campaign for Uyhgurs

We defend the human rights of uyghur people and the free world by exposing and confronting the chinese government's genocide, and empowering uyghur women and youth in the diaspora.

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