An investigation into the XPCC (Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps), China’s state-run paramilitary and administrative body operating in Xinjiang, has been published by Laura Murphy, Nyrola Elimä and David Tobin of the Helena Kennedy Centre. The report details the brutal treatment of the Uyghur people by the XPCC, which has been an instrument of repression for the CCP in the region. The report, which Arise helped to fund, can be read here.
The XPCC has engaged in numerous human rights abuses, including illegal detention and imprisonment, the facilitation of forced labour and forced migration, and highly intrusive policing and religious persecution. The Uyghur population are subject to exceptionally harsh treatment, with no regard for freedom or human rights.
The report also investigates the financial muscle of the XPCC, and finds that the body holds a ≥50% stake in 2,873 companies in the Uyghur Region. A small number are publicly listed, and ties to western financial institutions have been found, despite the forced labour allegations against the XPCC.
The XPCC also exports goods, which end up in global supply chains. The value of XPCC global exports is said to be over $7 billion annually.
The report argues that the ‘XPCC is a colonial institution, responsible for land expropriation and explicitly dispatched by the top levels of the party-state to act as a military and industrial force to suppress Uyghur dissent.’
In its role, the XPCC acts as a regional government, operating schools, prisons, and courts, whilst controlling the radio and television stations in the area. The investigation charges the XPCC with the organised mobilisation of Han Chinese from other parts of China, to dilute the Uyghur population density of Xinjiang. As a result of these allegations, the report claims that ‘the XPCC has played a critical role in suppressing Uyghur life, culture, and identity’.
The investigation finds XPCC repression different from other forced labour abuses in China due to a.) the proportion of the population targeted, b.) the racial targeting present in the Uyghur region, and c.) the goal of transforming ethnic identity. The treatment of the Uyghur minority by the CCP can only be described as a deeply disturbing case of state-sponsored forced labour.
Read the report here.