In a major development, about 12 companies from Japan have decided to cease business deals with Chinese firms involved in forced labour of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
As per reports, the Japanese companies have been under pressure to act against the Chinese firms after the United States and the United Kingdom imposed restrictions on the import of cotton and products manufactured in the Xinjiang province. Over fears of inciting China, the Japanese government have been passive in its actions against human right abuses in the Communist-ruled country.
Nevertheless, around 12 companies have now announced that they would stop business deal with companies benefitting from forced labour in China’s Xinjiang province. The companies include the likes of Sony Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Fast Retailing Co. Earlier, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that 83 companies have been benefitting (directly and indirectly) from forced Uyghur labour, working outside the Xinjiang province through the labour transfer programs.
Japan company Toshiba Corp to cut ties with Chinese firm accused of employing forced Uyghur labour
While most companies said that they could not verify the claims, Toshiba Corp announced that it will terminate its contract with a firm accused of forcibly employing Uyghur workers by the end of 2021. Since foreign firms rely on self-reporting by companies on human rights violations, they have not been able to gauge the situation other than that of direct business partners.
It must be mentioned that Ryohin Keikaku Co was one of the brands that were found to have dealings with Chinese companies, which are under US scrutiny. Although it has claimed to have procured organic cotton and yarn (certified by third parties), the retailer had products with the tag of ‘Xinjiang cotton’ listed on their official website. It was however removed, only after a probe into these dealings were unearthed by Kyodo News.
Detention of Uyghurs is largest since the Holocaust, claims report
A sub-committee of Canada’s House of Commons stated that China has detained over 2 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in ‘concentration camps’, making it the largest mass detention of minorities since the Holocaust. The situation is grim as the detainees have no access to legal aid, often resulting in an indefinite period of detention and complete isolation from the outside world. “Witnesses stated that punishment for breaking rules can be swift and violent and that women and girls are regularly subjected to sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence,” it stated.