New report refutes U.S. allegation of 'forced labor' in Xinjiang
Updated 20:19, 27-Oct-2020
Seamstresses work at a sewing factory in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. /Xinhua

Seamstresses work at a sewing factory in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China. /Xinhua

A handful of U.S. congressmen recently proposed the Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act, alleging that there is a large-scale systematic phenomenon of "forced labor" in the "education and training centers" in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and even in other places throughout the country.

However, a report published by the Human Rights Institute of Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, China, on Monday has refuted the allegation.

The research team found that poverty is a serious problem in the region and requires urgent attention. It mentioned issued such as poor natural conditions, unbalanced industrial structure, serious shortage of regional employment, continuous decline in the proportion of added value in the agricultural industry, surplus rural agricultural labor and large poverty gap between rural and urban residents.

For example, in southern Xinjiang, most natural grasslands are desert grasslands. Per capita arable land is small while salinization and desertification are getting more severe. In addition, air distribution is uneven and natural disasters, such as sandstorms, hailstorms and earthquakes, occur frequently. Meanwhile, locals are mainly engaged in primary industry, mainly in agriculture and animal husbandry.

In Hetian, the per capita net income of farmers in 2018 was 8,756 yuan ($1308), of which the per capita net income of the primary industry was 4,410.36 yuan ($659.24), accounting for 50 percent of the net income.

CGTN Infographic. /Xinjiang Development Research Center

CGTN Infographic. /Xinjiang Development Research Center

Secondly, the rapid development of the secondary and tertiary industries in Xinjiang has increased demand for employment, providing more employment opportunities for the population in Xinjiang.

The increase in the disposable income of urban residents in Xinjiang is mainly due to the wage income from the secondary and tertiary industries. The development of country has further promoted the prosperity and development of the regional economy. This shows consistency with the world's poverty reduction experience. During this period, the protection of the rights of poor women in Xinjiang has also been continuously improved.

Thirdly, all Xinjiang employees voluntarily go out to work. Migrating for work has greatly improved the economic situation of Xinjiang employees, their quality of life has been improved, and they have more opportunities for development.

Since 2014, the number of legal entities in Xinjiang has continued to increase, and the employment opportunities provided have also increased steadily. From the perspective of industrial distribution, the tertiary industry has the largest number of legal entities, and the annual increase is also the most prominent. From 2014-2017, 61,315 legal entities were added, while the primary and secondary industries increased by 1,296 and 10,072, respectively. This growth has brought more labor demand, so more people can participate in the secondary and tertiary industries, earn wages and increase disposable income.

Workers at a rural cooperative make embroidery works in Tekes County, Xinjiang, Aug 10, 2020. /Xinhua

Workers at a rural cooperative make embroidery works in Tekes County, Xinjiang, Aug 10, 2020. /Xinhua

Fourth, China has established the basic principles of legal protection of the rights and interests of workers, promotion of employment, equal employment and two-way selection, and employment of special groups. It has formulated and implemented supporting policies to protect the rights and interests of workers. "Forcing others to work" is strictly prohibited.

The survey results prove that the so-called U.S. think tank's accusations are false or even slanderous.

The Chinese government's employment poverty alleviation policy is an important measure to implement relevant United Nations requirements and conforms to the requirements of international conventions, the survey said.

"Xinjiang's poverty alleviation policy is generally adapted to objective conditions and to satisfy the needs of the poor. Employment poverty alleviation policies have played an important role in eliminating poverty in Xinjiang, and Xinjiang people's migration to work has enhanced ethnic unity."

At the same time, the policy to alleviate poverty still needs to keep pace with the times in terms of working mechanism, industrial transformation and upgrade, blocking the inter-generational transmission of poverty, and improving social, ecological, cultural and public services, so as to further ensure the equal participation and development of all ethnic groups, share the fruits of national economic development, and jointly pursue a happy and prosperous life, it added.