Activists are urging some of the world’s largest international conglomerates to cut ties with Chinese suppliers over claims of “forced labor” from the country’s Uighur minority, the BBC reported Thursday.
Advocates from Uighur human rights groups claim that companies like Apple and Nike are “bolstering and benefiting” from the exploitation of the minority Muslim group, who mainly reside in Xinjiang province, located in China’s northwest.
Apple insists it does not use forced labor in its products following an internal review.
According to the BBC, many factories that produce goods for the west are located Xinjiang, where many Uighur Muslims have reportedly been transferred to so-called “education centers.”
In response, Apple insists that no forced labor is used in making its products following an internal investigation.
We have found no evidence of any forced labor on Apple production lines and we plan to continue monitoring,” the firm said.
China has been accused of “horrific and systematic abuses” in Xinjiang including forced labor, mass detention, and involuntary population control.
More than one million Uighurs and mostly Muslim Turkic minorities have been rounded up in internment camps where they undergo political indoctrination, according to human rights groups and experts.
China contends that the facilities are vocational education centers where Uighurs learn Mandarin and job skills in order to steer them away from extremism following a spate of ethnic violence.
The US for its part has recently slapped a number of sanctions against Chinese officials and companies for the alleged human rights abuses.
China has imposed retaliatory sanctions on three senior Republican lawmakers, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, as well as the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.
(Matzav / i24 News).