The "Strike Hard campaign against violent terroristism" launched by the Chinese government. It targets native Uyghurs as well as other Turkic Muslims living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. This is the only area in China that has a majority Muslim population.
Over a million people have been held arbitrarily in 300-400 facilities since then. They are subject to torture and mistreatments, including rape, for downloading ebooks in Uyghur or sending Islamic religious recordings to their family, Human Rights Watch reported.
The detainees are forced not to practice their religion and forbidden from speaking their language. They are also commanded to praise President Xi Jinping, the Communist Party, and to praise President Xi Jinping in what some consider a government-led program of cultural genocide.
China denies any allegations of forced labor or other abuses.
In 2019, the U.S. ambassador to religious freedom Sam Brownback challenged the Chinese government about the existence of the camps. China finally admitted the existence of the camps after increasing pressure from media outlets and governments around the world. However, they defended them as schools for anti-extremism training. They were more like a "boarding" school than a "concentration camp" which the "people are grateful for."
Cotton - The Fabric Full Of Lies is a 2019 book written by Han Lianchao. Lianchao suspects that many of these incarcerated Uyghurs are being used for forced labor in various industries similar to the 500,000-800,000 other prisoners in more than 70 prisons in the Xianjing area.
Lianchao concluded that 84 percent of China’s cotton is produced in the Xianjing area. Therefore, most cotton products sourced directly from China, including those entering the U.S.A and Europe, could be tainted by forced labor.
Lianchao's suspicions were confirmed when Nury Turkel (an Uyghur-American lawyer, and Human Rights Activist) testified before Congress that Uyghurs held in Xinjiang reeducation camps are frequently relocated to factories as forced laborers.
The New York Times reported that approximately one in five garments made of cotton globally contains yarn or cotton from Xinjiang. They also found evidence linking the Uyghur detention to major fashion retailers' supply chains.
Since 1930, all goods created with forced labor are banned in the United States under the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act. This includes goods that have reasonable evidence of forced labor.
Chinese companies have to adapt to this changement, including US based China factories, explain a labor lawer in shanghai.
Companies that have ties to Uyghur forced labour
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), published a report "Uyghurs For Sale" in March 2020. It identified 83 global brands and companies that were linked to Uyghur forced labor within 27 factories located across nine Chinese provinces.
The Act allows for an exception from its ban on imports to the XUAR if an importer has fully complied to the Act's guidance, substantively answered all U.S. CBP inquiries to determine the origin of the good, ware, article, or merchandise and provided "clear and convincing evidence" that the goods were not produced by forced labor. The Act instead assigns the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force ("FLETF"), a 2020 executive order, with publishing an enforcement strategy that includes "guidelines to importers with regard to...the type, nature and extent of evidence that shows that goods originating from the People's Republic of China were not mined or produced wholly or in part using forced labor."