Home International News So-called forced labor in Xinjiang is “sheer nonsense”: NPC deputies

So-called forced labor in Xinjiang is “sheer nonsense”: NPC deputies

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BEIJING, March 8 (INP): The so-called forced labor in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was debunked by deputies of the Xinjiang delegation during an open panel discussion at the ongoing second session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC).

“The alleged forced labor is sheer nonsense. I can use my own experience to explain it,” Akram Memtimin, an official of Saymahalla Village in Xinjiang’s Luntai County, said Thursday when responding to a related media question.

In recent years, certain foreign media outlets have been promoting the fallacy of “forced labor” in Xinjiang’s cotton industry, and the United States has imposed sanctions on Xinjiang cotton products.

Akram Memtimin said such media reports are incomprehensible. “Cotton is the main crop in our village. And last year, we planted over 506 hectares of cotton,” he said, noting that cotton farming has become more convenient as a result of technological advancements, such as the use of drones to spray pesticides and the installation of satellite navigation systems in cotton seeders.

“Picking 1 kilogram of cotton manually costs 2 yuan (about 28 U.S. cents), and for a 1-hectare field with a yield of 4,500 kilograms, that would be 9,000 yuan. In comparison, mechanized cotton picking costs only 2,250 yuan per hectare,” he said.

With figures like these, Akram Memtimin feels he is reasonable in questioning the need for coercion. “This snow-white cotton is our source of income. We make a good living.

We purchase cars and move into modern houses by growing cotton. Do we need to be forced to do so?” he asked.

Jin Zhizhen, a local official, said that Xinjiang’s cotton output exceeded 5 million tonnes in 2023, accounting for over 90 percent of the national total, and its mechanized harvest rate surpassed 85 percent.

Jin noted that the cotton industry is one of Xinjiang’s pillar industries and an important source of income for people of all ethnic groups in the region.

All companies involved in the industrial chain sign contracts with their employees in accordance with China’s Labor Law and Labor Contract Law to guarantee their legal incomes and social security benefits, he said.

“The U.S. sanctions on Xinjiang cotton are essentially an attempt to use ‘forced labor’ as a pretext to create forced unemployment and poverty in Xinjiang, undermining prosperity, stability and development in Xinjiang and curbing China’s development,” Jin said.

The U.S. attempts to suppress Xinjiang’s cotton industry are unlikely to succeed, and Xinjiang cotton will continue to be popular around the world for its high quality, he added.

INP/javed

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