The State Department placed China on a small list of countries whose governments engage in a “policy or pattern” of human trafficking, specifically noting the treatment of Uyghurs and other minorities.
The report said that, over the past four years, the Chinese government “has carried out a mass detention and political indoctrination campaign” against the Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, adding that “the courageous voices of survivors, their family members abroad, researchers, and international advocacy groups have thoroughly documented the PRC’s discriminatory use of surveillance technologies and trumped-up administrative and criminal charges to abduct and detain more than one million Muslims, including Uyghurs, ethnic Hui, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, ethnic Tajiks, and ethnic Uzbeks.”
The State Department said, “detention in these camps is intended to erase ethnic and religious identities under the pretext of vocational training” and “forced labor is a central tactic used for this repression.”
BIDEN IS RIGHT TO BREAK A LITTLE CHINA
“In Xinjiang, the government is the trafficker,” the State Department said. “Authorities use threats of physical violence, forcible drug intake, physical and sexual abuse, and torture to force detainees to work in adjacent or off-site factories or worksites producing garments, footwear, carpets, yarn, food products, holiday decorations, building materials, extractives, materials for solar power equipment and other renewable energy components, consumer electronics, bedding, hair products, cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, face masks, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other goods — and these goods are finding their way into businesses and homes around the world.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the Chinese government’s abuses.
“The Chinese Government has detained more than 1 million people in as many as 1,200 state-run internment camps throughout Xinjiang. Many detainees are subjected to physical violence, sexual abuse, and torture to induce them to work producing apparel, electronics, solar equipment, agricultural products,” Blinken said. “And while the practices are the most egregious in Xinjiang, this year’s report notes that China has subjected its citizens to coercive labor practices in other parts of the country as well.”
Blinken added: “We’ll continue to call on our partners around the world to join us in condemning China’s genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and in taking steps to prevent goods made with forced labor from entering our supply chains.”
The State Department pointed to the CCP’s Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in particular, calling it an economic and paramilitary organization with control over areas comprising nearly 3 million personnel, contending that it “forces members of prison populations and local communities alike to work in hazardous mining, construction, manufacturing, food processing, and — for many thousands of Uyghur adults and children — cotton harvesting.” The State Department lamented that “these products and raw materials are injected into international supply chains, spreading the PRC’s forced labor complicity around the globe.”
In March, the Biden White House acknowledged a genocide against the Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese Communist Party, ending days of resistance by the State Department to say such an atrocity was happening. The concession by President Joe Biden’s team realigned its view to match that of the Trump administration.
The State Department’s 2021 Trafficking in Persons Report concluded that 11 governments worldwide had a documented “policy or pattern” of human trafficking, trafficking in government-funded programs, government-affiliated forced labor, sexual slavery in government camps, or the use of child soldiers, including China, Afghanistan, Burma, Cuba, Eritrea, North Korea, Iran, Russia, South Sudan, Syria, and Turkmenistan.
The Chinese government also “reportedly placed ethnic Tibetans in vocational training and manufacturing jobs as part of an ostensible ‘poverty alleviation’ and ‘labor transfer program’ that featured overt coercive elements” while “Chinese nationals reportedly suffered forced labor in several countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe hosting Belt and Road Initiative projects.” The State Department noted that, for the fourth year in a row, the Chinese government “did not report identifying any trafficking victims or referring them to protective services.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin was infuriated by the new report, calling it “groundless” and “based on lies and rumors.”
“This only further exposes the sinister intention of the U.S. to use human rights as a pretext to attack and smear China and interfere in China’s domestic affairs,” Wang said.
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The State Department report also said traffickers “subject Chinese national men, women, and children to forced labor and sex trafficking in at least 80 other countries” and “force Chinese national men, women, and girls to work in restaurants, shops, agricultural operations, and factories in overseas Chinese communities.” The traffickers also “subject Chinese national women and girls to sex trafficking throughout the world, including in major cities, construction sites, remote mining and logging camps, and areas with high concentrations of Chinese national migrant workers.”