U.S. senator slams Apple, Amazon, Nike, for enabling forced labour in China

Washington, June 11, 2021: On Thursday, a US senator criticized US companies, including Amazon.com, Apple Inc. and Nike Inc., for looking into allegations of forced labor in China, saying they were involving American consumers in Beijing’s oppressive policies.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on China’s crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s western Xinjiang region, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said several US government companies are not missing out on this fact. It turned out that they were “profitable” by the Chinese government’s mismanagement.

“For a long time, companies like Nike and Apple and Amazon and Coca-Cola have been using forced labor. They were taking advantage of forced labor or getting it from suppliers who suspected forced labor,” Rubio said. The use of labor is suspected. ” “Unfortunately, these companies were implicating us all in these crimes.”

Senator Ed Markey, who co-chaired the hearing with fellow Democrat Tim Cain, said several U.S. government companies have benefited from the Chinese government’s “dictatorial surveillance industry,” and many of their products are still in Xinjiang.

Thermo Fisher Scientific said in 2019 it would stop selling genetic sequencing equipment into Xinjiang after rights groups and media documented how authorities there were building a DNA database for Uyghurs. But critics say the move didn’t go far enough.

But critics say the move did not go far enough. Rubio said of Thermo Fisher that he had repeatedly written to the Massachusetts-based company about the matter.

“Whenever we find evidence of forced labor, we take action and suspend selling privileges,” said an Amazon spokesman. Coca-Cola declined to comment. The other companies mentioned did not immediately respond to questions from Reuters. U.S. lawmakers are seeking legislation that would ban Xinjiang-based imports of goods for fear of forced labor. Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some Western lawmakers say Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor since 2016, ignoring nearly one million Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in camps.

The United States government and parliaments in countries including Britain and Canada have called China’s policies on Uighurs genocide. China denies abuse, saying the camps are for vocational training and the elimination of religious extremism.

Sophie Richardson, China’s director of human rights watch, told the Senate panel that Beijing’s “extreme pressure and surveillance” made it impossible for companies to mobilize human rights. “Inspectors cannot visit undisclosed facilities or talk to workers without fear of reprisals. Some companies are unwilling to seek definitive information about their supply chains,” she said.

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