US Reviews Report of Imports From Forced Labor in China Camp - NBC Connecticut
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

US Reviews Report of Imports From Forced Labor in China Camp

It's against U.S. law to import products of forced labor



    A Colon Cancer Patient Gets the Right Care at the Right Time
    Ng Han Guan/AP
    In this Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, photo, a guard tower and barbed wire fences are seen around a facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China's Xinjiang region. This is one of a growing number of internment camps in the Xinjiang region, where by some estimates 1 million Muslims are detained, forced to give up their language and their religion and subject to political indoctrination. Now, the Chinese government is also forcing some detainees to work in manufacturing and food industries. Some of them are within the internment camps; others are privately owned, state-subsidized factories where detainees are sent once they are released.

    The U.S. government said Tuesday that it is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese internment camp where ethnic minorities are sewing clothes that have been shipped to the U.S. market.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that reporting by The Associated Press and other media "for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a U.S. company."

    The AP tracked shipments from a factory in a camp in China's far western Xinjiang region to Badger Sportswear in North Carolina. The company ships clothing to universities, colleges and schools around the United States.

    Experts and a human rights organization say that possibly as many as 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and others from predominantly Muslim groups are arbitrarily detained in such camps, whose functions range from political indoctrination to forced labor.

    Astronauts Make History With NASA's First All-Female Spacewalk

    [NATL] Astronauts Make History With NASA's First All-Female Spacewalk

    American astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch made history Friday with NASA's first all-female spacewalk. The astronauts walked outside the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery.

    (Published Friday, Oct. 18, 2019)

    Following the recent news media reports, Badger said that it had suspended business with Chinese supplier Hetian Taida Apparel and was investigating. A statement on its website says "one percent or less" of Badger products was sourced from Hetian Taida.

    The Washington-based Workers Rights Consortium (WRC), which has agreements with many educational institutions to make sure the products they sell on campus are ethically manufactured, said that "forced labor of any kind is a severe violation of university codes of conduct."

    The group's executive director, Scott Nova, said in a message to affiliate universities that, building off the AP's report, WRC had gathered additional evidence indicating the factory that supplied Badger with collegiate apparel was "one and the same" as the factory inside the highly-guarded internment compound seen by AP reporters.

    The factory was featured on a Chinese state television segment in October that characterized the camp as a vocational training center that helps minorities steer clear of religious extremism and gain employable skills.

    The state-run China Daily published an article on Tuesday which profiled ethnic minorities in Xinjiang who have been recruited to work in garment factories. The story featured a 23-year-old woman named Burebgul Ali who was described as being "reluctant to work at the factory."

    "But after skills training and learning Mandarin," the story said, "Burebgul found her job quite comfortable and could make at least 3,000 yuan ($435) per month."

    South Philly Explosions Seen from Inside the Facility

    [NATL-PHI] Philadelphia Refinery Explosions Seen From Facility Cameras

    Cameras inside the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery caught on video the massive blasts early June 21 from just yards away. Here is what explosions of hundreds of thousands of pounds of explosive chemicals looks like up close. The video is from Philadelphia Energy Solutions, via the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

    (Published Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019)

    The AP spoke to a dozen former detainees and individuals who had friends or family in similar centers in Xinjiang who said they were given no choice but to work at factories on site. The Uighurs and Kazakhs, who were interviewed in exile in Kazakhstan, said that even professionals were trained to do factory work.

    It's against U.S. law to import products of forced labor. Customs and Border Protection said it is part of its mission to enforce "both laws to protect individuals from forced labor and our Nation's economy from businesses profiting from this form of modern slavery."