Nba player

NBA player Enes Kanter leads rally against Uyghur forced labor

WASHINGTON – Surrounded by a few hundred Uyghur, Tibetan and Hong Kong activists, NBA player Enes Kanter held a rally in front of Capitol Hill on Saturday, calling on China to end forced Uyghur labor and urging the US Congress to pass Law on prevention of labor. “

The Boston Celtics Center also called on US officials to take “tangible” action to end forced labor by Uyghurs in China.

“We need action. Not just talk. We need to make human rights a priority in US and foreign policy,” he said. “Only then can we help stop the Uyghur genocide.”

The US Senate unanimously passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law in July.

If passed by the US House of Representatives and promulgated by President Joe Biden, it would ensure that products made with forced labor in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region do not enter the US market, and it would impose sanctions related to this forced labor.

The bill states that since April 2017, China has arbitrarily detained more than one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz people and members of other persecuted groups in a system of extrajudicial mass internment camps, and has subjected detainees to forced labor, torture, political indoctrination, and other serious human rights abuses.

Beijing denies accusations of internment camps and forced labor for Uyghurs, saying the complexes are “vocational education and training centers” that provide Uyghurs with Chinese language lessons, legal knowledge, professional skills and de-radicalization. China claims that the freedoms of the Uyghurs have never been restricted and that they have the freedom to choose their occupation.

One of the sponsors of the Uyghur forced labor prevention law, Senator Marco Rubio, applauded Kanter for his courage to stand up, in a written statement delivered by a representative at the rally.

“Courageously, my friend Enes Kanter used his platform to shed light on the horrors at the hands of the Chinese government and the Communist Party,” Rubio said in his written statement.

In recent weeks, after Kanter expressed support for Tibetans, Uighurs and Hong Kong, calling on Beijing to end its “brutal” policies, Chinese media platforms in China have stopped broadcasting Boston Celtics games.

At the rally, Kanter also accused companies such as the clothing company Nike of being complicit in Uyghur forced labor in China.

“As an NBA athlete, it’s sad, shameful and disgusting to see them keep their silence on China,” Kanter said.

Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter shoes seen during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards on October 30, 2021, in Washington.

Last year, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said in a report that 83 brands, including Nike, were linked to Uyghur forced labor in China.

And later that year, the New York Times reported that Nike and soft drink maker Coca-Cola were among the main companies and business groups lobbying Congress to weaken Uyghur labor prevention law. strength.

Nike has stated on its website that the company is committed to ethical and responsible manufacturing and that it meets international labor standards.

“We are concerned about reports of forced labor in or related to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike does not source products from XUAR and we have confirmed to our contract suppliers that ‘They don’t use textiles or yarns from the region,’ Nike said in its statement.

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