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Nike says China-based supplier stopped hiring employees from northwest amid forced labour allegations, but critics say further proof is needed

“Nike Says China-based Supplier Sent All Uyghur Workers Home Amid Forced Labor Allegations”, 21 July 2020

A China-based supplier to Nike has stopped hiring employees from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and sent all workers from the region back home, the footwear giant said in a statement… amid scrutiny over possible links between its supply chain and forced labor…

… in response to questions about the current state of its supply chain in China, the Oregon-based footwear company said it had confirmed that there are no longer any Uyghurs working for Qingdao Taekwang.

“When reports of the situation in XUAR began to surface last year we engaged with management at Taekwang’s Qingdao factory, in consultation with industry experts, as they evaluated their employment of migrant workers from the region,” Nike said in a statement emailed to RFA’s Uyghur Service.

“Taekwang subsequently stopped recruiting new employees from XUAR to its Qingdao facility in 2019 and has confirmed that all remaining employees from XUAR have now returned home. Through the diligence process Taekwang shared documents that indicate all employees at the facility, including migrant workers from XUAR, had the ability to end or extend contracts their contracts at any time.”

In its statement, Nike noted that it does not source products or components directly from the XUAR and said it had “confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region,”…

Speaking to RFA… U.S. author and commentator Gordon G. Chang questioned Nike’s statement.

“Maybe they’ve sent all the Uyghur workers home, but I think that Nike needs to show proof that that has in fact occurred because Nike has been making statements that do not appear to be true,” he said, suggesting the company’s statements to The Washington Post for an article the paper published in February were incorrect…

Nike’s response comes a day after the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added to its Entities List 11 Chinese companies involved in alleged human rights abuses in the XUAR… Amongst the entities was Hong Kong-headquartered Esquel Group…

In a statement on its website, Nike claims that it does not have a relationship with Esquel Group, which it said ASPI [Australian Strategic Policy Institute] had inaccurately reported in March…

[Also referred to Apple, BMW, The Gap, Samsung, Sony, Volkswagen, Tommy Hilfiger, Patagonia and Lacoste]

Part of the following stories

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

China: USA adds Chinese firms and entities to sanction lists over human rights abuses