A report released March 1, 2020, has added to the woes of the China-linked global supply chain. The report, “Uyghurs for sale: ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang,” written by members of the International Cyber Policy Centre in cooperation with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, catalogs how the Chinese government practices forced detention, brainwashing and forced labor on Uighur, Kazakh and other minority populations.
The report estimates that more than 80,000 Uighurs were transferred out of Xinjiang to work in factories across China between 2017 and 2019, and some of them were sent directly from detention camps. The factories are found within the supply chains of at least 83 global brands, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.
Several companies gave statements following the release of the report, stating that “‘none of the mentioned supplier companies are currently a direct supplier of Volkswagen,’” and “‘[t]hough our current supplier audit data show no evidence of forced labour in our supply chain, we take all allegations of this nature seriously and will investigate fully,’” and “‘Apple is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.’… ‘We have not seen this report but we work closely with all our suppliers to ensure our high standards are upheld.’”