Solar industry ties to China's Xinjiang region raise forced labor concernsJune 24, 2021
According to company reports, local propaganda and other public documents, Hoshine Silicon, also known as Hesheng, recruits and employs Uyghurs and other minorities via state labor programs that aim to place them in factories. Researchers say these programs are a form of forced labor for residents who, faced with the threat of detention or other punishment, cannot refuse.
Former residents of the area say the government has sent their family members to internment camps, made them harvest cotton and take up other work, and intimidated them into ceasing contact with the outside world.
In an October 2020 account published by Turpan’s propaganda department, a team leader from Piqan’s public security bureau described performing “ideological work” on a villager named Muhtar to “transform his thinking” before securing him a job at Hoshine.
In another report from September 2019, officials were described as “relieving” a couple in Dikan of their seven acres of grape fields. The couple were given jobs at Hoshine, about 30 miles away, as a mechanic and product inspector, according to the state-run Xinjiang Broadcasting Station.
Former residents said refusing these jobs was not an option, given the threat of detention. “You don’t have a choice. You must go,” said Abdulla Yunus, a Uyghur from Piqan who now lives overseas.
A Uyghur worker at a Hoshine factory in Xinjiang, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said he voluntarily came to work at the company but faces restrictions. He speaks Chinese but is required to take Mandarin classes at the company.
He is confined to Xinjiang. “They don’t let us leave,” he said, echoing accounts of other minority residents barred from leaving. “Right now it is very strict.”