China Daily: No 'forced labour' in Xinjiang, report finds

Members of a delegation of UN envoys get manicures at a vocational school in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. - Xinhua

BEIJING, Oct 20 (China Daily/ANN): People of all ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region voluntarily choose their jobs and start their own businesses and so-called forced labour does not exist, according to an investigative report.

Some claims by Western think tanks of the use of forced labour in Xinjiang are false, and their arguments are baseless and unscientific, the report released on Tuesday said.

Although industries in the relatively less-developed south of Xinjiang have boomed, they still do not meet local people's employment needs, the report said.

An increasing number of surplus laborers from southern Xinjiang are seeking jobs in more developed cities in other parts of the country that offer higher wages and better living and working conditions, according to the report on the employment of people from ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

The Development Research Centre of Xinjiang's investigation team made field visits to more than 70 enterprises, rural labor cooperatives and business startups in Ili Kazak and Kizilsu Kirgiz autonomous prefectures and Kashgar, Hotan and Aksu prefectures. The team also visited cities outside the region, including Beijing and Tianjin.

The investigators interviewed more than 800 company managers, employees, self-employed workers and ethnic minority employees. They also studied 26 government documents issued since 2016 and 48 academic papers published since 2005.

In the past, jobs that people in Xinjiang found for themselves were usually low quality, poorly paid and not stable. As a result, people from Xinjiang hoped that the government would actively organise and help them obtain employment, the report said.

After conducting interviews with Xinjiang people, the investigation team noted they had expectations that the government would help them find jobs.

A survey of 100 farmers in Kashgar and Hotan found the vast majority of respondents wanted the government to organize work for them, the report said.

People's willingness to be voluntarily employed has always been the premise for local governments organizing work for them, which is clearly stated in several government documents. The decisions of those unwilling to work for health or other reasons, are fully respected and they are never forced to sign up for training, the report said.

The majority of Xinjiang people who go to other parts of China to work follow the Islamic religion. To protect their right to freedom of religious belief and provide facilitates for worship, they are informed about the number and locations of mosques in a city.

Their religious activities, such as praying at the mosque and fasting during Ramadan, have not been interfered with by any organization or individual, the report said. Halal food is also made available in the workplaces of Muslim employees from Xinjiang.

The allegation of some Western think tanks that there is "large-scale forced labour" in Xinjiang is "profoundly untrue, unreasonable and untenable", the report said. The claim is slanderous lie with a political purpose that exposes the real faces of think tanks as lackeys of the United States and the West in their anti-China plots, it added. - China Daily/Asian News Network

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