Private-owned companies like Lotus in China have been hit by the global pandemic. Photo: BBC

CLW Labor News Brief for July 2020


Private-owned companies like Lotus in China have been hit by the global pandemic.  Photo: BBC
Private-owned companies like Lotus in China have been hit by the global pandemic.
Photo: BBC

Shipment of Chinese hair goods seized by U.S. officials suspecting forced labor LINK
(Reuters 07/01/2020) The U.S. government blocked an $800,000 shipment of hair extensions and accessories imported from China that might be made with forced labor. The Customs and Border Protection(CBP) said that the detained goods is suspected of using prison labor and forced labor from Xinjiang. A spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in the U.S. stated in an email that the suspicions of forced labor was trying to disturb Chinese business and the accusation is false and malicious.

Coronavirus: China’s workers and graduates fear for their future LINK
(BBC 07/07/2020) A factory in Jiangsu, China has only a few staff left and expects no mass production orders to restart the factory. An interviewed factory worker had a 50% pay cut and can only afford the basic living costs. Many migrant workers and small companies have been affected by the current pandemic. Meanwhile, nine million graduates are facing a grim employment market this year due to the pandemic. In order to recover the economy in China, employment is paramount.

China Is Using Uighur Labor to Produce Face Masks LINK
(The New York Times 07/19/2020) A New York Times’ visual investigation showed that some Chinese companies use Uighur labor as forced labor to manufacture personal protective equipment(PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic. Although most of the PPE is for domestic supply, some have been exported overseas. Uighurs are the Muslim ethnic minority group that usually from Xinjiang province in China. They are reported to be forced by the Chinese government to learn Mandarin and to pledge their loyalty to China.

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 11 Chinese Companies Over Human Rights LINK
(The New York Times 07/21/2020) The Trump administration prohibited 11 new Chinese companies from purchasing American technology and products without a special license. These 11 firms involved with the human rights violations of Muslim people in Xinjiang region. The sanctioned companies include current and former supplier for large international brands such as Apple, Google, Ralph Lauren and Muji.

Brands urged to stop sourcing from China’s Xinjiang over forced labor fears LINK
(Reuters 07/23/2020) A coalition of civil society groups urged major retailers to stop sourcing from China’s Xinjiang region. More than 180 organizations asked brands such as Adidas and Amazon to cut business relationships with any suppliers that use forced labor of the Uighurs or other Muslim groups. As more than 80% of China’s cotton comes from Xinjiang, it is difficult for brands to avoid suppliers that use cotton picked from the region.