China’s white paper on forced labour suggests unease at western pressure

China’s white paper on forced labour suggests unease at western pressure

  • Document defending camps for Uighurs released days after US blocked some Xinjiang imports

China’s new white paper on forced labour in Xinjiang suggests a government uneasy about growing western pressure over abuses of Muslim minorities in the region

It also gives a rare, if oblique, glance into the scale of government attempts to reshape communities in the region, detailing how 10% of the region’s population were relocated over the past year, after being dubbed “surplus rural workers”.

The white paper comes just days after the US said it would block imports of goods, including cotton, clothes and computer parts, from five companies based in Xinjiang, over concerns about forced labour.

The “Withhold Release Orders” come into effect immediately, and Washington is considering far more sweeping region-wide bans on products including cotton and tomatoes.

There is also pressure from the private sector; this week, H&M became the latest western company to say it would cut ties with producers in the region.