U.S. seizes 13 tons of human hair suspected from Chinese slave labor camps
U.S authorities seized 13 tons of allegedly human hair last week, shipped from China’s Xinjiang province, site of concentration camps that house between one and three million ethnic Uyghurs.
China calls the camps reeducation camps that concentrate on vocational rehabilitation, but human rights advocates, including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, haven’t minced words. A joint committee on China that both senators serve on, said that the camps are part of a slave labor system in China.
“The US State Department estimates that over one million Uyghurs have been detained in a massive network of internment camps in Xinjiang, where they are reportedly ‘subjected to torture, cruel and inhumane treatment such as physical and sexual abuse, forced labor, and death,’” reports CNN.
Under existing American law, companies are forbidden from bringing products into America that might contain anything produced by slave labor or by the exploitation of prisoners such as hair shaved from prisoners.
During the Holocaust, Nazis used to shave the heads of their victims—including Jews—to make felt for military boots.
A recent report says that international and American companies such as Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen are all using slave labor in Chinese factories to manufacture goods.
“Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor, Uighurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors,” said the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in a report dated March 1, 2020.
The report says that Nike’s facility in eastern China “is equipped with watchtowers, barbed-wire fences and police guard boxes.” Workers are prevented from leaving even for holidays.
Last month President Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act which allows the president to individually sanction Chinese individuals who are participating in the Xinjiang labor scheme.
The human hair products, worth $800,000, were seized in the port of New York and New Jersey.
“Production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation,” said U.S. customs official Brenda Smith according to the BBC.
“The detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message … that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in US supply chains,” said Smith.
On July 1, the U.S. government warned American companies not to do business with 37 companies in China that the government has identified as participating in the atrocities.
A partial list of products produced by the companies includes: agriculture (including such products as Hami melons, Korla pears, tomato products, and garlic); cell phones; cleaning supplies; construction; cotton yarn, cotton fabric; electronics assembly; extractives (including coal, copper, hydrocarbons, oil, uranium and zinc); fake hair and human hair; wigs; hair accessories; food processing factories; hospitality services; noodles; printing products; footwear; stevia; sugar; and textiles.
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