China denies United Kingdom forced labor allegations

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2021

China denies allegations of rights abuses and forced labour, saying it aims only to raise incomes among minorities and stamp out radicalism.

The agency said the region-wide ban was "based on information that reasonably indicates the use of detainee or prison labor and situations of forced labor", saying it had found examples of debt bondage, restriction of movement, isolation, intimidation and threats, withholding of wages, and abusive living and working conditions.

The measure follows a more targeted ban the Trump administration issued in December, against cotton products made by Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, which CBP called "an economic and paramilitary organization subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party".

Britain and Canada should immediately withdraw their wrong decisions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

The measures also include a strengthening of the UK's Modern Slavery Act to introduce fines for businesses not complying with transparency rules, extending the act to the public sector, and an "urgent review" of export controls around Xinjiang.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday announced the new measures, which the Foreign Office says are created to ensure that all British organizations "are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang".

He cited evidence of human rights violations committed against Uighurs.

China denies United Kingdom forced labor allegations
China denies United Kingdom forced labor allegations

"To crack down on whistleblowers and citizen-journalists at this particular moment ... helps highlight to the rest of the world what the consequences of violations inside China can be", Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said after the release of the group's World Report 2021.

They "face severe and disproportionate measures, with up to 1.8 million people having been detained without trial", Mr Cleverly said.

"Individual countries including the United Kingdom have funded, concocted and deliberately spread lies and rumours to smear and discredit China on the pretext of so-called human rights issues", Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.

Mr Zhang accused Mr Cleverly of baseless attacks that "we firmly reject and refute". -China tensions after he takes office on January 20.

China's ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, on Tuesday accused Britain of applying double standards in the fight against terrorism and called on London to "stop interfering in China's internal affairs".

The abuses were "on an industrial scale", said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, in strongly worded comments that will do little to improve ties with Beijing strained by its crackdown in Hong Kong.

The new rules announced by Mr Raab include plans to bar British firms that inadvertently or deliberately profit from or contribute to rights violations against Uighurs.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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