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12 Jan 2021

Ana Swanson, Christopher Buckley, The New York Times

China: Solar companies reportedly linked to forced labour allegations in Xinjiang

"Chinese Solar Companies Tied to Use of Forced Labor", 8 January 2021

... According to a report by the consultancy Horizon Advisory, Xinjiang’s rising solar energy technology sector is connected to a broad program of assigned labor in China, including methods that fit well-documented patterns of forced labor.

Major solar companies including GCL-Poly, East Hope Group, Daqo New Energy, Xinte Energy and Jinko Solar are named in the report as bearing signs of using some forced labor, according to Horizon Advisory, which specializes in Chinese-language research...

The Chinese government disputes the presence of any forced labor in its supply chains, arguing that employment is voluntary. The companies named in the report either did not respond to requests for comment or denied any role in forced labor.

In a statement, a representative for the Chinese Embassy in Washington called forced labor in Xinjiang “a rumor created by a few anti-China media and organizations,” adding that all workers in Xinjiang enter into contracts in accordance with Chinese labor law. “There is no such thing as ‘forced labor,’” the representative said...

Together, the solar companies named in the report supply more than a third of the world’s polysilicon, which is refined from rock and turned into the solar panels that end up on rooftops and utility energy projects, including those in the United States and Europe.

GCL-Poly, Daqo New Energy, Xinte Energy and East Hope Group did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Ian McCaleb, a spokesman for Jinko Solar, said the company “strongly condemns the use of forced labor, and does not engage in it in its hiring practices or workplace operations.” He said that it had reviewed the claims in the Horizon report and “found that they do not demonstrate forced labor in our facilities.”

The growing scrutiny of the region has already prompted changes among some companies whose supply chains are entangled in these programs...The solar sector could face similar pressure. The industry has deep ties to Xinjiang, which accounts for about 40 percent of global polysilicon production, said Jenny Chase, the head of solar analysis at BloombergNEF...

Part of the following timelines

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang