July 26, 2022
Companies and authorities should take action to cut ties with Chinese government’s state-run paramilitary corporate conglomerate’s suppliers
The Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region calls on corporations, in all countries, to sever all relationships with Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) companies and their subsidiaries. The call follows the release of a new report, Until Nothing is Left, providing alarming insights into the systemic repression of Uyghurs by the XPCC – the Chinese government’s state-run paramilitary corporate conglomerate. The XPCC operates in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (Uyghur Region), where it systematically abuses Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim majority peoples by operating internment camps with forced labour. The report, published today by the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University, identifies warehouses and logistics companies that are known to source from the XPCC.
The report explores the XPCC’s activities, since its founding in 1954, that repress the majority Turkic and Muslim population in the Uyghur Region and erase their culture. The XPCC functions as a regional government, a bureau of prisons, a media empire, and an education system. New research and aggregated data examine the XPCC’s role in driving the crimes against humanity being committed in the Uyghur Region, its engagement in systematic forced labour, and its role in exporting – and thereby tainting world markets with – products made with forced labour.
“The main purpose of the XPCC is to control, intimidate, disperse, and ultimately break down the Uyghur people until there is nothing left of their culture,” said Laura Murphy, Professor of Human Rights and Contemporary Slavery at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University and one of the authors of the report. “The corporate empire that it has built on the backs of its forced labour programs has a huge footprint in the global economy, and it’s essential that world leaders in both business and government stand against the XPCC and its violations of human rights. As long as companies around the world continue to source from XPCC subsidiaries, Uyghurs and other local peoples in the region will continue to suffer.”
In the XPCC’s system, residents are “re-educated” and stripped of their culture through a program of forced labour, abuse, and indoctrination. The report provides satellite imagery of significant expansion of the prison system between 2015 and 2019, noting that, “in the last several years, it has become difficult to distinguish between the XPCC’s prisons and its internment camps.”
The report also examines the XPCC’s embrace of labour transfer schemes and use of forced labour to discipline and control the population’s mobility and reap the financial benefits. With up to 20% of all cotton-based products and 10% of the world’s polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coming from the Uyghur Region, there are enormous profits that result from the XPCC’s crimes against humanity.
The report also looks at the businesses benefiting from relationships with the XPCC. A robust list of warehouses and logistics companies that are known to be purchasing cotton from the XPCC is included; this list is a resource for companies looking to cut ties with all partners with links to the XPCC. It is also a source for authorities charged with enforcing legislation banning the import of forced-labour made goods or imposing sanctions on responsible individuals, like the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the U.S. and global Magnitsky sanctions.
Researchers issued a series of recommendations in response to the XPCC’s insidious involvement in human rights violations. These include:
Businesses should end all sourcing from XPCC companies and subsidiaries, and development finance institutions and investment banks should end all investments in, and retract all contracts with, XPCC entities; and
Governments should implement import bans on goods made with Uyghur forced labour, require importers to disclose identifying information about their suppliers and manufacturers, and publicly disclose customs data.