FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2020
USCIRF Condemns Use of Uighur Muslim Forced Labor in China and Urges Congressional Response
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) condemns the Chinese government for coercing tens of thousands of Uighur and other Muslims to work in textile factories. According to reports from the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and other sources, dozens of companies, including major American companies, are suspected of directly employing forced labor or sourcing from suppliers suspected of doing so. USCIRF welcomes the introduction of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the House (H.R.6210) and in the Senate (S.3471), which would bar the importation to the United States of any goods made in Xinjiang.
“The Chinese government has compounded its mistreatment of Uighur and other Muslims by forcing them to work in factories,” said USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “We urge all American companies, including Amazon, Nike, Apple, and Calvin Klein, to conduct a thorough investigation of their supply chains in China and cease any operations if they cannot definitively rule out the use of forced labor.”
“We want to commend Representative Jim McGovern and Senator Marco Rubio for their bipartisan leadership on this important issue,” added USCIRF Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee. “We urge Congress to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act swiftly. It is unacceptable for the United States to import any products made with forced labor.”
In its 2019 Annual Report, USCIRF called upon the administration to use its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the International Religious Freedom Act to impose targeted sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for severe religious freedom violations, especially Chen Quanguo, the current Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang. In February 2020, USCIRF released a factsheet explaining how the Chinese government’s new Regulation for Religious Groups could further restrict religious freedom.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or 202-523-3240.