(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/1/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is a calling on all Americans to urge their members of Congress to reject alleged attempts by Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola (Coke), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other business interests to weaken forced labor legislation that cracks down on imports of goods made with Uyghur Muslim slave labor in China’s Xinjiang region.
Take Action: Urge Congress to Reject Nike, Apple, Coke’s Attempt to Water Down Uyghur Muslim Forced Labor Prevention Act
On November 29, the New York Times published the article “Nike and Coca-Cola Lobby Against Xinjiang Forced Labor Bill,” which alleges — according to congressional staff and public lobbying records — that these businesses and interest groups are actively lobbying Congress to water down the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (H.R.6210 / S.3471).
“Congress must reject shameful lobbying attempts by large corporations like Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola to water down legislation that blocks imported goods made with Uyghur Muslim slave labor in China,” said CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert S. McCaw. “If it is too challenging to certify that your company is not benefiting from the Chinese Communist Party’s concentration camps, then operate in another country, preferably America.”
The Chinese government has transformed Xinjiang into repressive high-tech surveillance police state that has criminalized the practice of Islam and being Muslim – having arrested 1 to 2 million of Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslim minority inhabitants, detaining them in barbed wired concentration camps for no other reason than practicing their Islamic faith. Many of these Uygur Muslim detainees are forced into labor by the Chinese Communist Party as part of their “re-education.”
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which is positioned to pass Congress and be signed into law, would impose various restrictions related to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, including prohibiting certain imports from Xinjiang and imposing sanctions on those responsible for producing goods manufactured by Uyghur Muslim slave labor.
Many American companies operating in China either directly – or indirectly through supply chains – benefit from forced Uyghur Muslim slave labor. For example, Coke allegedly uses sugar sourced in Xinjiang, Nike has benefited from Uyghur laborers in prison-like conditions, and textile companies use cotton sourced from the region.
In March, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China issued a report alleging that a number of well-known American and multi-national companies have benefited from Uygur Muslim slave labor, including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Campbell Soup Company, Coca-Cola Company, Costco, H&M, Kraft Heinz Company, Nike, Inc., Patagonia, Inc., and Tommy Hilfiger. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute also reports that Apple, Microsoft, Google and other companies have benefited from Uyghur Muslim slave labor.
According to the New York Times, “Companies and groups lobbying on the bill have been pushing for various revisions, including easing disclosure requirements” including only “releasing certain information about supply chains to congressional committees rather than to the public.”
The act, which passed the House in September with bipartisan support – 406 to 3 – is positioned to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump or President Elect Joe Biden. The legislation would:
- Mandate any good manufactured or produced in Xinjiang would not be imported into the U.S. unless Customs and Border Protection determines that it was not manufactured by convict labor, forced labor, or indentured labor under penal sanctions, and that such determinations would be reported to Congress and the public.
- Require the President to periodically report to Congress a list of foreign entities and individuals knowingly facilitating (1) the forced labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang; and (2) efforts to contravene U.S. laws regarding the importation of forced labor goods from Xinjiang. The President would impose property-blocking sanctions on the listed individuals and entities and impose visa-blocking sanctions on the listed individuals.
- Businesses operating in Xinjiang like Nike, Apple, and Coke would be required to file reports with the Securities Exchange Commission disclosing any information related to Xinjiang, including instances where the issuer knowingly (1) engaged in activities with an entity helping to create mass surveillance systems in Xinjiang, (2) engaged in activities with an entity running or building detention facilities for Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, or (3) conducted a transaction with any person sanctioned for the detention or abuse of Uyghurs or other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. After being notified of such a disclosure, the President shall determine whether to investigate if sanctions or criminal charges are warranted.
- The Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force and the Department of State would also report to Congress strategies to address forced labor in Xinjiang.
CAIR notes in August, the group called on the National Basketball Association (NBA) to prioritize its “commitment to social justice over profits” by ending all collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party until the government ceases its ongoing campaign of genocide against the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority.
CAIR believes China’s anti-Muslim policies, acts of cultural erasure, forced serialization and abortion, and system of concentration camps meet the United Nations’ definition of ethnic cleansing, if not genocide. Any continued presence that U.S. corporations maintain in China effectively normalizes these crimes against humanity.
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com; CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert S. McCaw, 202-999-8292, firstname.lastname@example.org