1 million Muslims along with Christians, Uighurs and Kazakhs are being held at internment camps in the Xinjiang region of China against their will. These groups are being forced to denounce their religion, give up their language, recite political songs, names and phrases. if they refuse they are beaten, forced into solitary confinement, and other punishments.
A massive compound of 30 dormitories, schools, warehouses and workshops are surveilled by numerous cameras. Behind locked doors and gates, men and women sew sportswear that will end up in the U.S. on college campuses.
The AP reported tracking recent outgoing shipments from the internment camps to Badger Sportswear, a leading apparel company in Statesville, North Carolina.
John Anton the CEO of Badger said the company will source sportswear elsewhere while they investigated. Meanwhile, the U.S. government said it also was reviewing reports of forced labor at the camps.
One eyewitness told the AP. Lawyers, Doctors and other people with high profile jobs are being “disappeared.” A term used to describe what the Chinese government is doing to their people.
Additionally, these abductees, people with professional jobs are being retrained to do menial work like stitching, carpentry, and cement factory work.
Payment varies from no pay to minimum wage, a tenth of what they made before from their high profile jobs.
“The camp didn’t pay any money, not a single cent,” he said, asking to be identified only by his first name, Elyar, because he has relatives still in Xinjiang. “Even for necessities, such as things to shower with or sleep at night, they would call our families outside to get them to pay for it.”
Nurbakyt Kaliaskar, a sheepherder’s wife in Kazakhstan, said her daughter, Rezila Nulale, 25, a college graduate with a well-paid advertising job in Xinjiang where she lives, was taken off the street after returning home from a visit to her family in Kazakhstan.
Kaliaskar learned of her daughter’s taking from a friend of the family, she also learned her daughter wasn’t being paid while she worked at the camp, but had to meet a daily quota of three articles of clothing.
“They say they’re teaching her to weave clothes. But the thing is, she’s well educated and had a job,” said Kaliaskar. “What’s the point of this training?”
A former detainee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect himself and his family members, said other detainees from his camp also had been forced into jobs at factories far away. They were taken to a government office and handed labor contracts for six months to five years in a distant factory, which they were required to sign.
If they ran from the factories, they were warned, they’d be taken straight back to the camps for “further education.”