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Investigation Report on the Situation of Xinjiang Outbound Young Migrant Worker of all Ethnic Groups

By Investigation and Research Team, Human Rights Institute, SWUPL | Southwest University of Political Science & Law | Updated: 2020-10-27 10:45
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A technician checks the quality of products at a garment company in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Aug 25. [Photo/Xinhua]

Abstract: Recently, some congressmen in the United States proposed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, believing that there is a large-scale systematic phenomenon of "forced labor" in the "education and training centers" in Xinjiang, China, and even in relevant enterprises all over the country. Think tanks in the United States and Australia have released reports saying that China, under the disguise of poverty reduction program, has forced Uygur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang to participate in labor. According to reports in China's official media, China persists in putting the people's right to subsistence and development in the first place, and creating employment has become a major pillar in that policy. In recent years, through the implementation of the policy of poverty alleviation through employment in Xinjiang, the living standards of the people of all ethnic groups have been improved, and the people's sense of wealth and happiness has been enhanced. Human rights protection has reached at a new historical height.

In view of the two entirely different statements mentioned above, the Human Rights Institute of Southwest University of Political Science and Law, not presupposing its own position, on the basis of respecting all parties, strides over moral accusation and lets the facts and the parties speak for themselves. On the basis of sorting out the current situation of Xinjiang's poverty problem, the investigation and research team (hereinafter referred as I&R Team) analyzes the role of Xinjiang's industrial development in solving the employment problem of the poor population, and adopts a combination of field investigation, questionnaire survey and in-depth interviewing to deeply understand the real situation of outbound Xinjiang migrant workers and their real attitude towards outbound migrant working.

The I&R Team found that: first, due to the poor natural conditions, unbalanced industrial structure, serious shortage of regional employment opportunities, the decreasing proportion of added value of agricultural industry, the surplus of rural agricultural labor force, and the large poverty gap between rural and urban residents, the poverty problem in Xinjiang is prominent, and it is urgent to alleviate poverty. Second, the rapid development of the secondary and tertiary industries in Xinjiang has provided more employment opportunities for Xinjiang residents. The increase of disposable income of urban residents in Xinjiang mainly comes from the wage income of the secondary and tertiary industries. The development of the secondary and tertiary industries further promotes the prosperity and development of the regional economy. This is consistent with the world's experience in poverty reduction. During this period, the protection of the rights of impoverished women in Xinjiang has also been improved. Third, Xinjiang employees are all voluntary outbound migrant workers on their own initiative, which greatly improves their economic situation, improves their quality of life and enables them to enjoy more development opportunities. Fourth, China has established basic principles of protecting the rights and interests of workers in accordance with the law, promoting employment, equal employment and "two-way choice"(graduates and potential employers directly negotiating employment), and taking care of the employment of special groups. It has formulated and implemented supporting policies to protect the rights and interests of workers, and strictly forbids "forcing others to work" in law.

Based on the survey results, we believe that the so-called think tank report is not true or even defamatory. The policy of poverty alleviation through employment of the Chinese government is an important measure to implement the relevant requirements of the United Nations, and meets the requirements of international conventions. The poverty alleviation policy in Xinjiang generally adapts to the particular situation and the needs of the poor population. The policy to alleviate poverty through employment has played an important role in eliminating poverty in Xinjiang, while outbound migrant workers enhance national unity. At the same time, the policy to alleviate poverty through employment of the Chinese government still needs to keep pace with the times in the aspects of working mechanism, industrial transformation and upgrading, blocking the inter - generational transmission of poverty, and improving social, ecological, cultural and public services, so as to further ensure the equal participation and development of all ethnic groups, share the fruits of national economic development, and jointly pursue a happy and prosperous life.

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