Products from the Xinjiang region continue to reach the United States despite measures promoted to prevent it, with exports even doubling, according to reports from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) came into force in June of this year in the United States after extensive debate among lawmakers. The UFLPA determines that all products from the Xinjiang region were manufactured with Uyghur forced labor and requires importers to prove otherwise.
This new law provoked a reaction from the CCP because it hindered exports of cotton and components for solar panels, which constitute an essential part of the dollar income for the region. The Global Times, the state-owned media of the CCP, published several articles criticizing the “protectionism” of the new U.S. law and predicted that it would not work because Xinjiang cotton is “indispensable” for the rest of the world.
However, in July, Chinese state media changed the narrative and reported the consequences of the UFLPA’s implementation, calling it a “malicious law.” The Global Times reported that the law had prevented U.S. companies from importing products from the region and also reportedly prompted other nations, such as the European Union, to consider similar measures to hinder the import of products from Xinjiang.
In a Global Times article, the head of the China National Colored Cotton Corporation, Liu Haifeng, said the law “has dealt a big blow to Xinjiang cotton.” About 90 percent of China’s cotton, and 20 percent of the world’s, originate in that region. He said Liu’s company still needed to begin importing products into the United States but intended to do so before the new law was passed.
The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based media outlet, reported that the China National Cotton Reserve Corporation (CNCRC), a state-owned entity, purchased 500,000 tons of cotton from East Turkistan to alleviate losses suffered by regional producers. This purchase came three weeks after the implementation of the UFLPA.
Despite the blow to the Xinjiang region’s cotton production and the Chinese economy, two months later, in September, the communist regime reported increased exports of products from the Uyghur region in July.
According to Chinese government figures, apparel exports to the United States rose to a two-year high in July. Industry experts said the sharp rise could be explained by orders placed months before the new law’s implementation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection refused to provide information on the flood of products imported from Xinjiang and how they would be thoroughly evaluated under the UFLPA. U.S. lawmakers demanded that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) report the methods it uses to enforce the new law, including tracking the origin of each Uyghur product and the materials from which it was made. For example, if a cotton shirt comes from Xinjiang, to enter the U.S., the origin of the cotton from which it was produced must be traced, and it must be free of Uyghur forced labor.
A lawyer in China described the data reported by the Chinese government as “just a pep talk” that Xinjiang authorities were giving themselves to hide an alleged drop in exports. “Falsification of local government figures in all areas is commonplace,” the lawyer said on condition of anonymity.
It is striking that the PRC has delayed the release of economic reports until after the CCP Congress. The September data were only released on October 24.
Despite the reported increase in the two months following the implementation of the UFLPA, the Chinese government reported that in September, exports from Xinjiang fell by more than half from August.
The value of products exported was $21 million in August but more than double the value exported in June when the law went into effect.
According to the Chinese government, export figures declined in September due to a drop in demand from foreign markets. However, apparel accounted for 11.6 percent of the products exported from Xinjiang to the United States that are under the scrutiny of the new law.
With tighter controls in the U.S. on products from the Xinjiang region, the data revealed by the Chinese government does not appear accurate. The U.S. government reported that it recorded 491 entries at U.S. ports worth more than $158.6 million for suspected use of forced labor. However, it did not provide details of the Xinjiang products. CBP still needs to disclose further information on the amount of imported goods detained on suspicion of Uighur forced labor.
Re-education camps in Xinjiang
Reports from independent human rights organizations, such as the World Uyghur Congress and the Victims of Communism Foundation, show that the Chinese communist regime persecutes ethnic Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region. A recent report showed that more than one million Uyghurs are deprived of their freedom in re-education camps.
The CCP denied these reports and continued its propaganda campaign from its state media and Western social networks such as Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Media around the world reported testimonies of Uyghurs who suffered persecution and torture both inside and outside China, as is the case of Rozenn Morgat, an Uyghur engineer living in France.
In an interview for The Guardian, the engineer told how she received a phone call from an unknown person from China, demanding that she had to return to sign some documents.
From that moment on, her ordeal began Morgat said that she was kidnapped by the Chinese authorities as soon as she arrived in the country. She was held for several weeks in a police prison, where she was subjected to all kinds of mistreatment and torture. She was then transferred to a re-education camp and underwent horrific experiences.