The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the American company Badger Sportswear for announcing it would no longer purchase clothing from a company based in Xinjiang, where the communist government has built dozens of internment camps to house, enslave, and torture Muslim minorities.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called it “pathetic” that the U.S. company – which claimed it had no knowledge of its purchased shipments coming from Xinjiang before the Associated Press (AP) exposed the origins of the clothing in a report late last year – had chosen not to do business with western China.
China initially denied the existence of the internment camps, which are believed to house mostly ethnic Uighurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz people. It has since branded them “re-education camps” and claimed that they serve to provide job skills to Muslims at risk of being enticed to join jihadist groups.
“If this company has stopped trade exchanges with China based on some wrong information, I think it is pathetic,” Lu told reporters, according to a translation by the state-run Global Times newspaper (the official website of the Foreign Ministry translated this as “a pity” rather than “pathetic”).
“I want to stress that first, China has abolished the reeducation through labor system,” Lu claimed. “Xinjiang’s vocational skills and education training is totally different from the ‘forced labor’ alleged by some parties.”
Lu made the comments while alleging that, “in principle,” China would typically not comment on private business dealings.
The Global Times backed Lu’s claims, asserting that its own “reporting” as a government-owned entity revealed that the government was not guilty of human rights violations in the nation’s largest province.
“During a visit to Xinjiang in late October, the Global Times found that in a satellite factory located in a village of Shorebagh town, the employees all voluntarily chose to work there and get paid,” the newspaper said, citing the salary of one of these factories at around $221 a month.