USCIRF today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to issue five new Withhold Release Orders (WRO) due to concerns about forced labor and religious freedom violations in the region aimed towards Uyghur and other Muslims.
Face masks have become ubiquitous as the world continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, as the demand for face masks skyrocketed, so too have concerns about the labor conditions of the workers making them. According to a new report, some personal protective equipment imported from China was made in factories that use forced labor. This is part of a Chinese government program that forcibly sends ethnic Uyghurs and Kazakhs from their home in Xinjiang, a region in northwestern China that Uyghurs call East Turkistan, to work in factories across the country. The news that the equipment saving our lives was made at the expense of someone else’s freedom strikes us as a deeply troubling tradeoff. Unfortunately, it is just one example of many Chinese products in American markets made with forced labor.
USCIRF today applauded the U.S. Department of Treasury’s designation of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) under the Global Magnitsky Act for committing egregious religious freedom violations against Uyghur and other Muslims.
USCIRF warned that the Chinese government’s repressive population control measures against Uyghur and other Muslims—including forced sterilization—might meet the legal criteria for genocide under international law.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2020
USCIRF Expresses Concern about National Security Legislation’s Threat to Religious Freedom in Hong Kong
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed concern about the effect that the Chinese Communist Party’s proposed national security legislation will have on religious freedom conditions in Hong Kong.
For most people, traveling abroad can lead to exciting opportunities and exposure to new cultures. For Muslims from China, traveling abroad can put friends and family at home at risk. In December 2015, Abduhaliq Aziz, a young Muslim from the ancient city of Kashgar, moved to Cairo to study at the renowned Al-Azhar University. Shortly thereafter, Chinese authorities retaliated by detaining Aziz’s parents. Several years after Ablikim Yusuf, a Uyghur Muslim, moved to Pakistan for work, he received a message over WeChat: his brother was in a reeducation camp. Last summer, Qatari authorities nearly deported Yusuf to China while he was transiting through Doha airport; only public outrage and U.S. diplomacy allowed him to settle in Virginia.