Countless Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic peoples remain enslaved and tortured by the Chinese government. With new legislation, the United States House of Representatives can take a stand against President Xi Jinping’s atrocities.
Across Xinjiang Province, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) subjects Uyghurs to forced labor in concentration camps. The prisoners work on little to no pay, and guards and officials torture and brutalize them daily. Gulzira Auelhan, a concentration camp survivor, testified in September at the Uyghur Tribunal that she made more than 2,000 gloves but only earned ~35 USD. “Although we were making some money,” she wrote in her official statement, “refusing to work resulted in being sent back to the camp, so we had no choice anyway.” According to the Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region, one in five cotton garments are made from Uyghur forced labor.
Enes Kanter, the center for the NBA Boston Celtics, criticized Nike for their silence on Uyghur forced labor. “Who makes your shoes in China?” he asked, “Do you even know?” Kanter went on to invite Nike owner Phill Knight to take a visit with him to China to see the concentration camps for themselves.
US Congress introduced the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act” in September of 2020. Reintroduced in the current Congress, the bill sets out to restrict imports from the Xinjiang Province. The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force will also file congressional reports on continuing strategies to combat forced labor in China. While the Senate passed its version of the bill in July, the House of Representatives has not yet voted.
Enes Kanter and concentration camp survivors held a rally in front of Capitol Hill on October 30, calling on China to stop Uyghur forced labor, hoping to encourage the House of Representatives to support the legislation.