We’ve already discussed some of the treatment of Muslims in China to compare and contrast what it’s like to live in countries other than the United States. But reports out of China have given us cause to fear for those who live there. Chinese officials have responded to reports of Muslim interment with callous indifference more than anything else — but how will they respond to reports of slavery?
As shocking as such a statement is regarding the civilized world, it appears to be the truth.
The Chinese factory Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. is an enormous supplier for popular United States brand Nike — and in fact the supplier of popular Shox, Air Max, and more. Reports suggest that many Muslims who are currently working in the factories had no choice but to attend.
The Communist Party of China has been accused of placing those who identify as Muslim Uighurs into interment camps to “re-educate” them how to be Chinese. According to party officials, the vast majority of these individuals have “graduated” and are now living freely. But not everyone is sure that’s the case. It seems that part of their graduation — which is really just forced assimilation into Chinese culture — might be directed labor, which is little different from slavery in a first-world country.
Part of the justification provided for placing Muslims in these camps was the reduction of poverty. But one of the more obvious reasons is to increase the party’s control of its citizens.
An Uighur woman described her plight: “We can walk around, but we can’t go back [to Xinjiang] on our own.”
The program seems designed to create a cult-like atmosphere among the Muslim participants. Common messages adorning the workplaces say things like “stay loyal to the party.” When you hear something again and again, it has a psychological effect — and indeed, you begin to believe that’s what you should do or that something you know to be a lie is actually the truth.
One vendor said, “Everyone knows they did not come here of their own free will. They were brought here.”
Another said, “The Uighurs had to come because they did not have an option. The government sent them here.”
But the worst part is that the apparently forced labor has benefitted at least 80 well-known brands operating all over the world. This information was provided by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (or ASPI), which is set to release a report on working conditions.
ASPI author Vicky Xiuzhong said, “The Chinese government is now exporting the punitive culture and ethos of Xinjiang’s ‘re-education camps’ to factories across China.”