The Uyghurs Human Rights Project (UHRP) new report found that 20 percent of red dates in the global supply chain are likely tainted by Uyghur forced labor. The Xinjiang Construction and Production Corps (XPCC) or “Bingtuan” holds a majority stake in at least 13 red date producing companies, which account for more than 25 percent of red date production in China. The XPCC, a major paramilitary and corporate organization, is responsible for carrying out mass internment, surveillance, and forced labor in East Turkistan.
Red dates, also known as jujubes, are a small sweet fruit popular throughout Asia and beyond.3 They are eaten fresh or dried and can also be processed into numerous forms including jams, teas, and paste. Red dates are promoted as a health food and are commonly used in traditional medicine in many Asian cultures.
Between February and August 2022, local and online grocery stores in the Washington, DC metropolitan area stocked over 70 brands of red dates grown or processed in East Turkistan, including at least three with “Bingtuan” on their labels. Other products sourced from the Uyghur homeland, including raisins and walnuts, are also sold in U.S. grocery stores.
Since July 2020, all financial transactions with the XPCC have been prohibited for U.S. persons under Global Magnitsky Sanctions, and since January 2021, imports of XPCC cotton and tomato products to the U.S. have been a priority for enforcement of the U.S. ban on forced-labor imports. However, investigations have revealed that cotton and tomato products from the Region have continued to enter the U.S. market.
As of June 21, 2022, all products from East have been targeted for priority enforcement of the U.S. ban on forced-labor imports, under the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is mandated to detain all products sourced from the Uyghur Region on the presumption that they are the products of forced labor, unless the importer can demonstrate that the product supply chain is free of forced labor.
UHRP’s research shows that U.S. food retailers and consumers risk complicity in forced labor and other atrocities, including genocide and crimes against humanity.
Read the complete report here.
By Team TRC