China publishes white paper applauding employment generated in Xinjiang

WION Web Team Beijing, China Sep 17, 2020, 11.02 AM(IST)

A Chinese paramilatary police patrol passes a Muslim ethnic Uighur woman and a child on a street in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang region. Photograph:( AFP )

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The paper, however, warns that these camps are being hindered by various terrorist organisations, separatists and religious extremists

China has been attracting criticism for the migration camps in the Xinjiang province in the country. The criticism has also resulted in several import bans by the US and few leading companies.

The Asian country has been alleged of practicing forced labour on several migrants who have been trapped in the migration camps, that China describes as "vocational centres". However, China has repeatedly denied these allegations.

To make sure the world knows that the allegations are not true, China has now published a white paper defending its policy in the region, saying the vocational training has improved workforce quality. The authorities claim that these training programmes, work schemes and better education have improved the lives of these migrants.

The report claims Xinjiang has "vigorously implemented employment projects, enhanced vocational training, and expanded employment channels and capacity".

Also read: H&M ends ties with Chinese yarn supplier due to accusations of 'forced labour'

"Xinjiang has built a large knowledge-based, skilled and innovative workforce that meets the requirements of the new era," the report reads.

These camps — described as "vocational centres" by China — are necessary for counter terrorism efforts, China claims.

The paper, however, warns that these camps are being hindered by various terrorist organisations, separatists and religious extremists. These groups, China claims, are encouraging the public to not learn Mandarin, to "reject modern science, and refuse to improve their vocational skills".

Also read: Trump administration to ban imports from China over forced labour

The paper also states that between the years of 2014 and 2019, China has trained an average of 1.29 million urban and rural workers per year. 

The report came a few days after the fashion clothing brand H&M put a stop on its partnership with the Chinese yarn producer over concerns of "forced labour". The US, too, banned imports of tomatoes and cotton produces from the region.

The white paper has been rejected by the experts. Homeland Security Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told reporters, "This is not a vocational centre, it is a concentration camp."

A Uyghur activist, however, has told WION that the proof of these concentration camps can be seen in the "Chinese advertisement about transferring hundreds of thousands of Uighurs to the inner China cities on a cheap labour basis."

"The main reason for the Chinese government is to justify their concentration training centres as they have stated that they have put more than 1.3 million people in their vocational camps which are concentration camps actually and let the world see another side of the forced labour. They say the workers' rights are protected by the laws but are no laws when it comes to the rights of Uyghur people," Ferkat Jawdat is an activist who started fighting for Uighurs in the Chinese camps after his mother was sent to one of these camps and still remains under constant government control even after being released in May last year.