(TibetanReview.net, Aug18’22) – Citing think tank and NGO reports as well as victims, the UN special rapporteur on modern slavery, Tomoya Obokata, has said in a report Aug 16 that China’s forced labour system in Xinjiang, as well possibly as in Tibet, could amount to enslavement and crime against humanity, meriting a further independent analysis.
The report, “Contemporary forms of slavery affecting persons belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minority communities,” has found that some instances of forced labour in Xinjiang and Tibet “may amount to enslavement.”
The Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, an independent UN experts, has not only condemned everything from Boko Haram terrorists taking child brides to “inequality” in the United States, but has also cited overwhelming evidence to state that it was “reasonable” to conclude that the Communist Party of China (CPC) was systematically enslaving people through two “distinct state-mandated systems”: the establishment of concentration camps, which China calls “vocational training centers,” and through a “poverty alleviation” programme in which China buses slaves out of East Turkistan to factories around the country.
In broader terms, the UN expert has said the CPC was actively enslaving members of non-Han ethnic groups in East Turkistan (Xinjiang), an occupied region west of China, and has likely engaged in similar activities in Tibet, noted the breitbart.com Aug 17.
Under the so-called vocational skills education and training center system, minorities are detained and subject to work placements, while the so-called poverty alleviation programme involves attempts to reduce poverty through labour transfer, in which rural workers are moved into low wage “secondary or tertiary work.”
“While these programmes may create employment opportunities for minorities and enhance their incomes… the special rapporteur considers that indicators of forced labour pointing to the involuntary nature of work rendered by affected communities have been present in many cases,” the report said.
The nature and extent of powers exercised over the workers – including excessive surveillance and abusive living and working conditions – could “amount to enslavement as a crime against humanity, meriting a further independent analysis”, it said.
The report has noted that a similar labour transfer system exists in Tibet, where the “programme has shifted mainly farmers, herders and other rural workers into low-skilled and low-paid employment.”
Special rapporteurs are independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, but who do not speak on behalf of the world body, noted the AFP Aug 18
China has condemned Obokata and his report. Its foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Aug 17 accused him of “choosing to believe lies and disinformation fabricated by the US… as well as anti-China forces.”
Obokata’s report came as the international community still awaits the released of a long-delayed report by the office of the United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on the situation in Xinjiang before she steps down at the end of the month.