The Chinese government has previously viewed detention as an educational or career development program aimed at preventing threats to social stability. But the United States and other governments have called it a genocide. Last July USA impose sanctions organization, known as XPCC or bingtuan in Chinese, as well as two officials associated with it, citing “their connection to serious human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.”
This move effectively makes it illegal for anyone in the US to do business with XPCC and makes it harder for the organization to work with other countries. But new research from a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC shows that many of XPCC’s subsidiaries continue to export goods around the world. The report shows that some consumer goods made from those products, such as ketchup or textiles, are sold in the United States as well as other countries such as Australia, Canada and Germany.
C4ADS, a global security and conflict reporting group, identified 2,923 XPCC subsidiaries and used business records, commercial records, and postings on a Chinese cotton business website. countries to investigate their business activities.
The team discovered that a Russian company called Grand Star manufactures tomato products and sauces under the Kubanochka brand. XPCC’s two subsidiaries, Xinjiang Guannong Tomato Products and Xinjiang Wanda Co., have sent Grand Star more than 150 shipments of ketchup.
The report found companies buying goods from Xinjiang and sending products elsewhere, but trade data did not make it clear whether specific banned items were reaching the US. Therefore, it is difficult to know if tomatoes imported from Xinjiang are subsequently sent to the US, but it is clear that Kubanochka-branded tomato products are sold in the US, including in stores. international food. Grand Star did not respond to a request for comment.
C4ADS also found that at least three XPCC subsidiaries sell XPCC cotton despite being part of the Better Cotton Initiative, a global industry recognition program that says it promotes ethical sourcing. for cotton products. The Better Cotton Initiative declined to comment on whether the companies’ practices conflicted with the organization’s guidelines.
One of the three subsidiaries, Xiamen ITG, is a supply chain management company worth nearly 14 billion yuan. According to government trade data compiled by Panjiva, Xiamen ITG and its own subsidiaries supply retailers large and small in North America, including Walmart Canada and a company based in North America. Ohio has MMI Textiles, a military supply company that has also provided protective equipment to hospitals. Trade data shows that Xiamen ITG sent two shipments of polyester and cotton fabrics to MMI in 2019, before the US started blocking Xinjiang cotton. When asked about the shipments, Nick Rivera, CEO of MMI Textiles, said it stopped working with the company in January 2019 and that MMI “had trouble figuring out the details you described. described in his investigation”.
Founded in 1954 – just five years after the ruling Communist Party came to power in China – XPCC initially focused on the resettlement of Han Chinese migrants in the Xinjiang region, the historic home of China. Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities. About 86% of the current XPCC members are Han Chinese, Base on the research published by Yajun Bao at Oxford University. XPCC is so powerful that Bao and other scholars have described it as a parallel to the Xinjiang regional government, with interests ranging from cotton farming to television and radio. XPCC has thousands of subsidiaries and accounts for 21% of the region’s output, including manufacturing.
Irina Bukharin, lead researcher of the C4ADS report, said: “XPCC is the main culprit of mass incarceration and forced labor in Xinjiang, and it has a major economic impact. “It is also punishable, so understanding how it remains connected to the global economy is important to understanding how sanctions and other measures targeting forced labor in the region are declining. how”.
US Customs and Border Protection in January said it would detain All tomato and cotton products imported from Xinjiang. However, C4ADS recognizes that both types of products may enter the United States, including when traveling through third countries. XPCC is the largest cotton producer in China and also a major player in the tomato industry.
Withholding shipments from the region is not always a straightforward process, partly because XPCC companies often sell their products through intermediaries in other parts of China. or other countries. Ana Hinojosa, a Customs and Border Protection official, told BuzzFeed News that the difficulty of gathering information about companies in Xinjiang is a challenge for US regulators.
“XPCC is a huge organization. It has a lot of subsidiaries, and they change and change frequently,” said Hinojosa, CBP’s executive director of trade remedy enforcement. “It’s a tough task to track them down.”
“I think there might be some cargo coming to the US that we don’t know yet that are connected to XPCC,” she added.
XPCC did not respond to a request for comment.