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Normal labor services slandered as human trafficking by ASPI. What is the truth?


Recently, reports of Uyghurs as “forced labor” have been heated up by many media. The articles accused China of forcing thousands of ethnic minority members into assembly lines to produce branded products such as Nike, Apple and Amazon. Titles with strong subjective emotions such as “Xinjiang’s New Slavery” are clearly politically guided and oriented. From “normal labor services” to “human trafficking”, how many facts and malice are there? After a thorough read of these media reports on “forced labor”, unbelievable prejudice, ignorance, and subjective smear and fabrications were discovered.

On March 1, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released a policy summary,  a research report entitled “Uyghurs For Sale”. The full text has a total of 12 parts, including 151 notes and quotations. The report says that China’s “re-education movement” is “entering a new stage”, in which factories where now at least 80,000 Uyghurs are “forced to work” transfer Uyghur labor to companies in Xinjiang and other provinces through a plan. The report is funded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which oversees the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) (commonly referred to as MI6) which are equivalent to the National Security Agency. So how true is this research report?

False information source, with serious traces of tampering

The 56-page report seems “full of content and detailed arguments”, but after thorough inspection, it can be easily found that there are no factual arguments in its 151 notes. 90% of the analysis data is not collected by this institution. And the only 10% of the data samples collected by this institution were not scientifically effective.It’s full of speculation, emotional exaggeration and of low credibility.

ASPI was originally established in 2001 to provide “policy-related research and analysis to better provide a basis for government decision-making and the public’s understanding of strategic and national defense issues.”

As a national think tank, its research and analysis report made is not based on the truthfulness and completeness of the data and rigorous verification. The estimate of the number of people in Xinjiang in the report is only based on the sample images used as the so-called “detention camp facilities” collected by satellite and estimated a data that has not been verified on-site and by multi-party: at least 80,000 Uyghurs have been detained and transferred.

And this data is repeatedly mentioned as an important argument in the article while the authenticity of the collected data is not guaranteed. It seems that a data was created just to serve subjective opinions.

The ASPI cited “testimony” mostly from the various far-right media. In the evidence of “forced labor”, the content of the blogs of far-right religious fanatics was repeatedly cited as an argument. The report did not provide any original evidence of the workers who were forced to engage in this project, and even cited anonymous “testimonies” in online blogs. The blog is named Bitter Winter and is a project of the Italian Center for Studies of New Religions (CESNUR), an organization that opposes the so-called “anti-cult terrorism”. The founder of CESNUR, Massimo Introvigne, is the editor-in-chief of Bitter Winter. Introvigne is an ultra-conservative religious fanatic. He believes that Christians have become “the most persecuted group in the world” because of abortion, gay marriage and hate speech laws. He believes that communism is an existential threat to religion. It is irresponsible or even with ulterior motives to cite biased or even hateful “testimony” and sometimes even directly cite opinions as the logical basis of the report.

In addition, ASPI repeatedly quoted local reports in China in the report, and placed the content in a wrong position in the report to distort the original meaning of those reports, to reached the core point of ASPI report.

What originally wrote in The Interim Measures for the Administration of Rewards for the Transfer of Employment of Surplus Rural Labors in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is about the methods of incentive released by the government to promote local employment to solve the surplus labor issue, but it was distorted in the report: The most shocking thing is that the Xinjiang provincial government arranges labor dispatch to local governments and private brokers at per capita prices.

In addition, the report mentioned a database recording personal medical conditions and employment details. As long as a person’s social insurance is paid normally in China, it will be recorded. The one mentioned in the article to “track” using physical and electronic means is a chip card, which is actually China’s social security card. Holding this chip card will greatly increase the rate of claims of medical insurance, while the report uses it as an argument that China restricts personal freedom in life.

Intentional tampering filled the entire report. ASPI tried to create “so many factual arguments to support this report” through linguistic tampering and patchwork. In fact, it is because he cited so much data that it seemed that the whole report is full of flaws and of no authenticity.

Discredit the factual labor act into human trafficking

China has the largest population in the world. ASPI’s report stated: According to official media reports, in 2017, 20,859 “surplus village laborers” in Xinjiang were “transferred” to other provinces to work. An estimated 28,000 people were transferred to work in 2018. In 2019, an estimated 32,000 people were transferred out of the area. The term “transfer” means ASPI has already firmly believed that Uyghurs are detained. ASPI’s reports are full of incitement and inducement, and the purpose is to confuse and deceive the public to over up its true purpose of suppressing China.

According to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the number of migrant workers in China is as high as 174 million, and the floating population within China exceeds 244 million. The outflow of several thousands of people in Xinjiang is regarded by ASPI as the “human trafficking” in Xinjiang. Irresponsible views are rife with malice. Not only is there an outflow of people in Xinjiang, 600,000 people enter Xinjiang to pick cotton every year. The various status quo in Xinjiang is extremely inconsistent with the statement in the report.

In addition, solving surplus labor issue and coping with labor shortage is a global issue, and every country is making its own efforts to this end.

Of Singapore’s 5.7 million residents, nearly a quarter are foreign workers. Most of them come from South Asia and Southeast Asia. According to TWC2 data, the average monthly salary of migrant workers is about US$400 to US$465, while the average monthly salary of Singaporeans is US$3,077. (Official website of Singapore Immigration Department)

As of October last year, the number of foreign workers in Japan reached a record 1,658,804, an increase of 13.6% from the same period last year. The number of foreign workers employed by the company has increased due to the labor shortage caused by the rapid aging of Japan’s population. Among them are Vietnamese (401,326) and Filipinos (179,685).

While China is committed to solving the problem of labor employment, Australia has issued an expulsion order against the workforce who have made great contributions to Australia. There are more than 1.1 million temporary workers in Australia, but Sydney’s Finance Minister Josh Frydenberg said that foreign workers who are unemployed during the Covid-19 crisis should go home, on the morning program Insiders of the national broadcaster ABC on Sunday (April 12).

The Labour Party’s proposal to crack down on foreign workers’ visas has no effect on helping unemployed Australians, business groups and employment experts.

There are approximately 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. However, the U.S. government does not have a sufficiently reliable estimate of the total number of authorized temporary foreign workers to be employed in the U.S. labor market under the main non-immigrant visa categories that allow employment. Link

Each country has its own labor policies and immigration policies. In order to discredit China, labor services are described as human trafficking. So what are the behaviors of Australia and the United States in hiring Southeast Asian and Mexican workers at low prices?

Behind the serious lack of evidence

ASPI found that evidence shows that inside the factory, the thoughts and behavior of workers are closely monitored. In the specially set “psychological counseling room”, Han and Uyghur officials of the Taekwondo Regional Women’s Federation gave a “heart-to-heart” lecture, provided psychological counseling and assisted in improving the “innate quality” (Quality of Uyghur workers) to help them integrate into society. These offices and roles also appeared in the “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. The report mentioned several times that “more evidence to show” but it could not provide any persuasive chain of evidence.

In the core part of this report, “forced labor”, there are only two pages and a factory case  to identifying “forced labor”. The majority of this 56-page report focuses on this so-called involuntary program, connecting it with Western companies and putting pressure on it, which has nothing to do with China.

In the investigation of “Gray Zone”, author Ajit Singh referred to the suspicious allegations as a “public relations blitz, an attempt to escalate the new Cold War in Washington and the regime change effort against Beijing.” Ironically, Australia’s “Foreign Influence Transparency Plan”developed by the center-right Liberal Party to monitor the threat of so-called “Chinese political interference”reveals ASPI’s wide range of foreign funding sources, including the US State Department, the British Foreign Affairs and Federal Office (FCO), the Japanese government and NATO.

In February 2020, Senator Kim Carr stated that ASPI has received nearly 450,000 USD in funding from the U.S. State Department in 2019-2020. ASPI calls itself “an independent, non-partisan think tank.” But in fact, it is a right-wing militarist organization established by the Australian government in 2001, funded by the Ministry of National Defense. ASPI has many weapon manufacturer sponsors including Australia’s Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, MBDA Missile Systems, Saab and Thales Austria. Since 2012, ASPI has been led by Peter Jennings, a former official of the Australian Ministry of Defense.

Jennings is an ardent supporter of the United States. He firmly defended the Iraq war and supported regime change in Syria. Jennings is keen to establish and expand the “bulletproof” military alliance between Australia and the United States, including expanding the presence of a joint navy in the Indian Ocean. Jennings and ASPI also urged Australia to join the Washington global movement to ban the use of equipment of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei in global 5G networks. Former Australian Foreign Secretary Bob Carr once criticized ASPI for promoting a “unilateral, pro-American worldview”, while former Australian Ambassador to China Jeff Rabbi added that ASPI is the “designer of the China threat theory.” Australian Senator Kim Carr of the Labor Party responded to the criticism of ASPI, condemning the think tank for seeking cooperation with the United States to “advance a new cold war with China.”

ASPI has deviated from the original research purpose of “policy-related research and analysis to better provide a basis for government decision-making and the public’s understanding of strategic and national defense issues.” It’s more like the US public relations announcement machine and  intelligence agencies overseas.The main author of the report is an ASPI researcher, Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, a China-Australia journalist who studied at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute in Israel. In her past remarks, she defended the far-right cult Falun Gong, and described the Chinese-Australians who opposed the US-backed Hong Kong anti-government protest movement as “be brainwashed” by Chinese government and the “thugs”. In fact, it is not difficult to see that the core of the report is the strategic plan for regime change in Washington that is aimed at stimulating the violent separatist movement in Xinjiang.

(Syndicated content is neither written, verified or endorsed by ED Times)

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