Uyghur forced labor in Xinjiang and what you can do

“‘Free the Uighurs’ protest” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Uighurs fight for independence and the release of prisoners in re-education camps.

by Risa Khawaja, Reporter

Roughly 1 million Uighurs (also spelled Uyghur) along with two other Muslim minorities called the Uzbeks and Kazakhs have been put into Chinese re-education camps for associating or practicing Islam. Though officially an autonomous region, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claimed the northwest corner of Xinjiang in 1949, and have since set up about 500 internment camps. Many Uighurs argue for Xinjiang’s independence, but its geographic position shares borders with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India, Mongolia, Russia and Afghanistan along with its oil reserves, coal and natural gases, making it an extremely profitable region for the CCP to control. 

Imprisonment started in 2017 when China banned long beards and veils in Xinjiang. The ban went into effect on April 1, and since then, their re-education camps have nearly tripled in size

“‘Free the Uighurs’ protest” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Uighurs fight for independence and the release of prisoners in re-education camps.

These camps serve one purpose: to enforce loyalty to the CCP. Each day followed a routine of singing songs that praised the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping, eating the bare minimum and forced labor. Ex-detainee Kayrat Samarkand relayed his experiences. Every day he was given pointless and repetitive tasks and was forced to wear “iron clothes” that forced his arms and legs into an outstretched position whenever he disobeyed.

Mihrigul Turusn, who testified in front of Congress in November 2018, recalled being taken to a separate room where she was bound to a raised chair and electrocuted. Her whole body shook violently and she could feel the pain in her veins. Many others had been sterilized, raped and forced to commit Islamic sins such as drinking alcohol or eating pork.

While the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act has been passed in The United States House of Representatives, it must now go to the Senate for consideration. You can help spread this act by contacting Senator Ted Cruz and ask him to sponsor the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act, then contact Representative Van Taylor and ask him to do the same.


The bill entails that:

  • Goods imported from Xinjiang will not be entitled to entry unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection determines they were not manufactured through forced labor.


  • The U.S. president must report to Congress a list of manufacturers using forced labor of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang and anyone trying to get around those laws. They must also impose visa blocking and property blocking penalties on said manufacturers and individuals.


  • Annual or quarterly reports must be filed with the Securities Exchange Commission to prove that goods had no association with Xinjiang forced labor.


You can also text GO UYGHUR to 504-09 to sign the Constituent Support for H.R. 6210/S. 3471 and it will be sent to your representatives. 

Lastly, if you have the means to, donate to Uighur refugees so they have food and shelter. The Uighur Muslim Refugee Appeal is a program run by Ummah Welfare Trust and donations go towards financial and housing aid. The Muslim Giving Organization is sending food aid. Both organizations are focusing on Uighurs who fled to Turkey.