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Key PVC maker in Xinjiang rejects 'forced labor' claim



A major material producer in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region refuted on Friday a recent foreign report claiming that the company was involved in the so-called "forced labor or transfers" program.

"Irrespective of how employees join the company, we sign labor contracts with them on the basis of equity and free will and inform them of their rights and duties," said Shang Xiaoke, trade union director at the Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Company.

The company has been employing workers through three normal ways -- recruitment through websites, campus and talent market, and internal recommendation, he said.

Published in mid-June, just before a US' act banning Xinjiang-related imports took effect in the country, a Sheffield Hallam University report accused four major PVC manufacturers in Xinjiang including Zhongtai Chemical, of using "transferred laborers".

The trade union leader said the company strictly implements the labor-related laws, including the laws on work safety and the prevention and treatment of occupational diseases and constantly improves the working environment.

"We strictly follow the system of eight-hour shift a day as required by law," he said, stressing that extra work is compensated with extra money and holidays.

Xu Guixiang, spokesman for the regional government, said the so-called forced labor in Xinjiang is totally a centennial lie.

"Laborers of all ethnic groups have complete freedom of choosing their jobs and careers destinations without any limitation on personal freedom," he said, noting that the region has been always trying best to assist the people of all ethnic groups in getting jobs and entrepreneurship.

In response to the United States' "Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act", Shang said the company recruitment is a market behavior which allows a two-way selection.

"If workers are satisfied with the salary and benefits provided by the company, they will stay. Otherwise they will go. Also, companies will pay higher for the more talented workers," he said. "The government has been playing a role of bridging the side seeking jobs and the other looking for workers. That's a win-win cooperation."

"We'll focus more on the technology innovation of our products," Shang said, adding that he firmly believes that manufacturing good products is the best way to fight back the US sanctions.


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