Residents from northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region shared stories from their lives and careers at an online press conference on Friday to refute a recent "public hearing" of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security concerning the so-called "forced labor act."
"Respecting the will of workers has always been an important basis for formulating Xinjiang's employment policies, to ensure workers of all ethnic groups here can work and live freely," said Xu Guixiang, spokesperson for the regional government.
Xu said the so-called "public hearing" gathered a group of so-called "witnesses" who know nothing about the real facts in Xinjiang. The "public hearing" fully demonstrates the hypocrisy and absurdity of the U.S. legal and judicial system.
"The 'forced labor' accusation by the United States and the sanctions it imposed are extremely absurd. There is no so-called 'forced labor' at all," said Alida Tuerahmat, director of human resources at a garment manufacturing company in the Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture.
"Our products are sold overseas, with 320 employees of Han, Uygur, Kazak, Hui and other ethnic groups," Alida Tuerahmat said. "Employees voluntarily sign labor contracts with the company, which fully protects their rights and interests."
With the help of the government, many ethnic-minority workers in Xinjiang have found satisfactory jobs in other provinces and regions.
Aynur Amir, from Xinjiang's Makit County, applied for a job at an electronics factory in the city of Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, in 2020. In just over a year, she grew from a beginner to a technical expert.
"In the first year, I saved tens of thousands of yuan and bought a new electric bike for my parents and several sheep for my family," Aynur Amir said.
"For a long time, governments at all levels in Xinjiang have attached great importance to the issue of employment," said Xu. "They have pursued a proactive employment policy and tried every means to create jobs. The fundamental purpose is to protect the employment rights of workers and enable people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang to live a better life."