Forced labor has taken place in the Xinjiang region of China, the U.N.’s top expert on slavery concluded in a new report which has riled Beijing.
It is “reasonable to conclude that forced labour among Uyghur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing” took place in the western region, where China has been accused of human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslim minority, and a “genocide” by the U.S.
In stinging remarks, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Tomoya Obokata added that some aspects of China’s Xinjiang policy could even amount to “enslavement as a crime against humanity.”
The report, publicly released on Wednesday, reads: “Given the nature and extent of powers exercised over affected workers during forced labour, including excessive surveillance, abusive living and working conditions, restriction of movement through internment, threats, physical and/or sexual violence and other inhuman or degrading treatment, some instances may amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity, meriting a further independent analysis.”
Forced labor has also been identified in Tibet, the U.N. report added.
Beijing blasted the U.N.’s slavery expert after the report was published. “A certain special rapporteur chooses to believe in lies and disinformation about Xinjiang spread by the U.S. and some other Western countries and anti-China forces,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said.
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