by WorldTribune Staff, May 18, 2021
The communist government in China is using forced labor from Uyghur Muslims to produce a key component used in the production of solar panels, British researchers reported.
An investigation by researchers at the UK’s Sheffield Hallam University found significant evidence — largely drawn from government and corporate sources — which “reveals that labor transfers are deployed in the Uyghur Region within an environment of unprecedented coercion, undergirded by the constant threat of re-education and internment.”
“Many indigenous workers are unable to refuse or walk away from these jobs, and thus the programs are tantamount to forcible transfer of populations and enslavement,” the researchers reported.
In Broad Daylight, the report from the university’s Helena Kennedy Center for International Justice, says the world’s four biggest solar panel manufacturers use polysilicon tainted by forced labor, and urges producers to source the substance from elsewhere.
Some 45 percent of the world’s supply of polysilicon comes from Xinjiang and is obtained through a vast system of coercion involving the Uyghur ethnic minority, the report said.
The researchers cited an official Chinese government report published in November which documented the “placement” of 2.6 million “minoritized” citizens in jobs in farms and factories in Xinjiang and elsewhere in the country through state-sponsored “surplus labor” and “labor transfer” initiatives.
The report’s authors said they had “investigated the entire solar module supply chain from quartz to panel” to better understand the extent to which forced labor in Xinjiang affected international solar panel supply chains, in order to “provide stakeholders with the evidence base upon which to judge risk of exposure to forced labor.”
During a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week, Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul asked Team Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, about ensuring that the U.S.’s climate strategy wouldn’t involve solar panels produced from forced labor.
Kerry did not commit to precluding those panels, but said: “It is my understanding that the Biden administration is right now in the process of assessing whether or not that would be the target of sanctions.”
In March, the United States, UK, Canada, and the European Union placed sanctions on Chinese officials deemed to be responsible for human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the abuse of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang was “one of the worst human rights crises of our time” and the international community “cannot simply look the other way.”