Beijing’s Uyghur labor programs are “equivalent to the forced transfer of populations and slavery,” the report says.
A new report warns against the use of Uyghur forced labor by China in the global solar panel manufacturing supply chain.
The study by Sheffield Hallam University in the UK said Chinese “labor transfers” to the northwest region of Xinjian, where rights groups say they have been the target of Muslim minority Uighurs persecution and internally, unfolds in “an unprecedented environment of coercion, subject to the constant threat of re-education and internment.”
The report added that 45 percent of the world’s manufacturers of polysilicon (a primary material used in 95 percent of solar modules) are located in Xinjian, where most Uighurs live.
The investigation “determined that many of China’s leading producers of raw materials, solar-grade polysilicon, ingots and wafers that are part of the manufacture of solar modules operate facilities in the region that have employed forced labor transfers from indigenous people in the region, and that many of these manufacturers have beneficial relationships with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps ”.
“The adoption of mandatory labor by these manufacturers has a significant impact on producers of back-up solar modules and on the governments, developers and consumers who buy them,” the report said.
Demand for solar panels has grown as countries are increasingly committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The researchers identified 90 Chinese and international companies whose supply chains are related in some way to forced labor.
They asked solar panel manufacturers to evaluate their supply chains and procure material elsewhere, and said the examples described in the report “are intended to provide stakeholders with evidence on which to judge the risk of exposure to forced labor in the solar supply chain “. .
International pressure has risen for Beijing to allow access to Xinjiang, with Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States holding a virtual UN meeting on Thursday. condemning documented rights abuses. China has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard told the event that there are an estimated one million Uighurs and predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities arbitrarily detained in the region.
The United States has said President Joe Biden will urge allies to do so increase the pressure on Beijing for alleged forced labor during its first leadership meeting in June.