U.S. Customs blocked a shipment of clothing from Uniqlo, a Japanese company, on Jan. 5 at the Port of Los Angeles, but the news came to light Wednesday, May 19, because the Chinese government denounced customs officials.
The blockade of a shipment of Uniqlo brand men’s clothing whose parent company is Fast Retailing Co, one of Asia’s most significant Japanese-owned textiles, was based on a restriction placed by customs during the Trump era to combat the slave labor, torture and mistreatment to which Xinjiang Uighurs are subjected under China’s communist regime.
According to documents seen by the press, Uniqlo applied to unblock the shipment but was denied on the grounds that the company failed to present compelling evidence that the cotton used to make the clothing did not come from Xinjiang province.
Eighty-five percent of Chinese cotton comes from Xinjiang’s forced labor camps, which the CCP calls “re-education centers.” It claims to “re-educate” Uighurs from “extremism” in its vain attempts to justify torture of the Muslim minority.
In addition, China is one of the world’s leading suppliers of cotton, making it difficult for large textile factories not to be linked to forced labor and human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party.
The Coalition to End Forced Labor in the Uighur Region, an umbrella organization of nearly 200 human and labor rights groups from around the world, warned last year as the Trump Administration stepped on the gas to press China to eliminate forced labor.
“Almost every major apparel brand and retailer selling cotton products is potentially implicated. Right now, there is near certainty that any brand sourcing apparel, textiles, yarn or cotton from the Uyghur Region is profiting from human rights violations, including forced labour, both in the Uyghur Region and more broadly throughout China.”
Back in December 2020 during the Christmas holidays, former Department of Domestic Security Undersecretary Ken Cuccinelli made harsh statements against the CCP for the use of slave labor and mistreatment of Uighurs in China while announcing new restrictions on cotton imports from Xinjiang.
“Those cheap cotton goods you may be buying for family and friends during this season of giving, if coming from China may have been made by slave labor in some of the most egregious human rights violations existing today in the modern world,” Cuccinelli said.
“We won’t participate in these views by buying goods made by labor at the point of a gun Americans of good conscience will stand up and refute,” he added.
In late January 2021, already with one foot out of office, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, declared that the Chinese Communist regime’s persecution of the Uighur minority in the Xinjiang region is part of a systemic, organized genocide to reduce the Muslim population.
The U.S. designation of genocide was a major blow to the CCP and set the stage for other countries to take concrete action against the abuses of the Chinese Communist regime.
In fact, shortly thereafter on January 12, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced in a speech in the House of Commons that British companies whose production chain is associated with the Chinese regime’s abuses of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang province will be heavily fined.