What do Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, and Nike have in common? Besides being “woke” corporations spewing political propaganda, they are also reported to be complicit in the mass detention of what China officially calls “ethnic minorities.” The Australian Strategic Policy Institute recently released their report “Uyghurs* For Sale,” which lists 83 companies with global brands using laborers reassigned from Xinjiang, China. It’s no minor infraction of human rights abuse as these indentured peoples are allegedly forced to manufacture products in 27 different factories scattered across nine Chinese provinces.
What’s more, according to the non-profit organization, Save Uighur:
“New evidence from Chinese government documents and media reports shows that hundreds of thousands of ethnic minority laborers in Xinjiang are being forced to pick cotton by hand through a coercive state-mandated labor transfer and ‘poverty alleviation’ scheme.”
There is nothing like being privy to both sides of the retail garment and footwear industry.
With an estimated 570,000 relocated Uyghurs forced into cotton-picking operations, 85% of the region’s cotton production and 20% of the world’s cotton is easily produced: Just like American plantation life in the 1850s.
It forces one to ask an illustrative question: Is the former NFL third-stringer Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to slavery in China? Or is his “oppression” in the United States all he can handle when it comes to slavery?
Just Do It
The Save Uighur movement is campaigning for help in tweeting at and writing to the people on the list of 83 American mega-companies that need a nudge. John Donahoe, the Chief Executive Officer at Nike World Headquarters, is front and center of the debate – possibly because of the massive Black Lives Matter pandering the company has done in the past four years.
The Gap, Lacoste, L.L. Bean, and Skechers – who tout their good works on climate change, animal protections, and literacy – are on a list of mega-million-dollar corporations that look the other way on what many are calling “ethnic cleansing” by China. In fact, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced a bipartisan resolution last fall, designating the crisis in East Turkestan as a genocide.
But the bottom line is important. What might be more important is if businesses in the United States condone – or at least by apathy are complicit – what is happening in the Far East.
Joe Biden’s China — Unfettered
The Uyghurs and other Turkic people are of Muslim faith and have resided in Xinjiang’s western region since the 3rd Century. Being rounded up, relocated, and forced into labor in factories may be the least of their problems. Picking cotton by hand? A labor union would have a field day with dangerous employment conditions, but then there are the detention camps. According to the U.S. State Department, approximately two million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic minorities have been imprisoned in detention camps. China calls the internment camps vocational training centers designed to fight extremism. Like difference of thought and opinion?
The last governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten, decries Communist China:
“To try and preserve its grip on power, the Chinese Communist Party has assaulted any sign of dissent and set about building a totalitarian surveillance state beyond George Orwell’s imaginings… We must be on our guard in democracies to defend our freedoms and values.”
Perhaps it is time for Woke America to drop the profiteering and make a real stand against oppression.
*Due to the Chinese Pinyin spelling, this word is sometimes written as “Uyghurs” and sometimes as “Uighurs.”
Read more from Sarah Cowgill.