Senators seek details from U.S. electronics firm on Uyghur labor

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A basic view reveals a producing plant of Common Electronics Inc in Qinzhou, Guangxi Autonomous Area, China, April 13, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – A gaggle of Democratic and Republican U.S. senators wrote to remote-control maker Common Electronics Inc on Wednesday about considerations the Arizona-based firm could possibly be implicated within the mistreatment of Uyghur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang area.

The letter cited a Reuters earlier this month that Common (UEI) struck a cope with authorities in Xinjiang to move a whole bunch of Uyghur staff to its plant within the southern Chinese language metropolis of Qinzhou. There, staff stay in segregated dormitories, are constantly surveilled by police, and are made to take part in authorities “schooling actions,” Reuters reported.

“We imagine these circumstances bear apparent indicators of compelled labor,” mentioned Democratic Senators Bob Menendez and Jeff Merkley and Republican Senator Marco Rubio within the letter to UEI Chief Govt Paul Arling.

Menendez chairs the Senate Overseas Relations Committee. Rubio and Merkley are members of the panel.

“We’re particularly troubled that Common Electronics seems to have carried out little to analyze or treatment the state of affairs,” the letter added.

UEI had advised Reuters the corporate employs 365 Uyghur staff on the Qinzhou plant. It mentioned it handled them the identical as different staff in China and didn’t regard any workers as compelled labor.

UEI mentioned on Wednesday it had ended its relationship with the staffing firm that employed the employees, and mentioned it seemed ahead to working with the three senators on the questions raised within the letter.

“UEI made the choice final week to finish its relationship with the staffing company that employed these staff primarily based on suggestions on methods to greatest safe its provide chain and in mild of ongoing regulatory and legislative modifications globally,” an organization spokesperson mentioned in an emailed assertion.

The Nasdaq-listed agency, which has bought its gear and software program to Sony, Samsung, LG, Microsoft and different corporations, additionally it doesn’t conduct unbiased due diligence on the place and the way its staff are educated in Xinjiang. It mentioned the association is vetted by a third-party agent, which it declined to call, working with the Xinjiang authorities.

Within the letter to Arling, the U.S. senators cited State Division findings that Chinese language authorities use threats of bodily violence, forcible drug consumption, bodily and sexual abuse, and torture to power detainees to work in adjoining or off-site factories or worksites.

The letter requested UEI to offer, no later than Nov. 5, data together with the textual content of its 2019 settlement with the Xinjiang authorities concerning Uyghur laborers, the variety of Uyghurs employed in China and documentation to help the corporate’s assertion that none of its labor is compelled.

The senators additionally requested for particulars of worker coaching applications associated to compelled labor and human trafficking, information of audits of amenities in China, and the content material of any disclosure to shareholders about the usage of transferred Uyghur laborers.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle;
Modifying by Mary Milliken, Jane Wardell and Richard Chang


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