Despite increased friction with the U.S., companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) increased their purchases of high-tech cotton harvesting machinery by 4,355 percent in anticipation of increased sanctions for human rights violations.
In particular, machines produced by the John Deere brand are the favorites of companies that grow cotton in the Xinjiang region, which went from producing less than 50 percent to 85 percent of the total harvested nationwide, according to South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Aug. 8.
This region is inhabited by Uighur people, who are intensely persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and subjected to forced labor. Uighur women are forced to have abortions and be sterilized, which is described as a kind of genocide.
The CCP commits similar abuses, mainly against practitioners of the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, known as Falun Dafa, belonging to the Buddha school and many other ethnic and religious groups.
Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, has repeatedly spoken out against the persecution of Falun Gong.
“Since 1999, the Communist Party of China (CCP) has sought to eradicate Falun Gong, a spiritual practice originating in China. Its peaceful practitioners and human rights defenders have fought for their right to practice their beliefs,” Pompe acknowledged on July 20, the 21st anniversary of its members being imprisoned and tortured by the CCP.
Lianchao Han, vice president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China, a Washington-based lobby group, said the Uighurs are reportedly forced to work in the large cotton-growing areas.
“It is not just in the fields, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) controls the irrigation and power systems too; The irrigation system was built by forced labor, and they are still using forced labor to strengthen this. This is why you can’t separate it: [XPCC] irrigated the entire region,” said Lianchao, according to SCMP.
On the other hand, although the CCP also produces agricultural machinery, it is not comparable to the U.S.–made machinery’s efficiency and precision.
“… Chinese brands have a high error rate and much lower efficiency; they cannot compete with John Deere,” said a Xinjian-based farm machinery dealer who preferred to remain anonymous, reported SCMP.
To punish the massive human rights violations in the Xinjiang region, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate on May 14.
“This bill imposes sanctions on foreign individuals and entities responsible for human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous region and requires various reports on the topic,” the Senate page said.
Just one day later, more than 1,800 tonnes of top-quality John Deere cotton-picking machinery was exported to Xinjiang.
Fox News reported John Deere, the dominant agricultural equipment manufacturer, located in Moline, Illinois, USA, reported profits of U.S. $517 million in the first quarter of the fiscal year (October, November, and December 2019).
Revenue was at $7.63 billion, exceeding the projected $6.41 billion.