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Global Automotive Supply Chains Entangled With Abuses in Xinjiang, Report Says

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Lots of those suppliers run through China, which has grow to be increasingly vital to the worldwide auto industry and the US, the destination for a couple of quarter of the auto parts that China exports annually. Xinjiang is home to a wide range of industries, but its ample coal reserves and lax environmental regulations have made it a distinguished location for energy-intensive materials processing, like smelting metal, the report says.

Chinese supply chains are complicated and opaque, which might make it difficult to trace certain individual products from Xinjiang to the US. Over the past three years, Xinjiang and other parts of China have been intermittently locked all the way down to keep the coronavirus at bay. Even before the pandemic, the Chinese government tightly controlled access to Xinjiang, especially for human rights groups and media outlets.

Determining the extent of coercion that any individual Uyghur employee may face in Xinjiang’s mines or factories can also be difficult given the region’s restrictions. However the overarching environment of repression in Xinjiang has prompted the U.S. government to presume that any products which have touched the region of their production are made with forced labor unless firms can prove otherwise.

Staff within the region “don’t have a likelihood to say no,” said Yalkun Uluyol, a Xinjiang native and one in every of the report’s authors. Goods coming from Xinjiang “are a product of the exploitation of the land, of the resources and of the people,” he said.

The report’s researchers identified quite a few documents — including Chinese-language corporate filings, government announcements and ocean import records — indicating that international brands, on the very least, have multiple potential exposures to programs in Xinjiang that the U.S. government now defines as forced labor.

Dr. Murphy said her team had identified nearly 100 Chinese firms mining, processing or manufacturing materials for the automotive industry operating within the Uyghur region, no less than 38 of which had publicized their engagement in repressive state-sponsored labor programs through their social media accounts, corporate reports or other channels.

International automakers contacted by The Times didn’t contradict the report but said they were committed to policing their supply chains against human rights abuses and compelled labor.

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