The Human Rights Research Institute of the Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL) and the Institute of Non-traditional Security Research of SWUPL jointly released a survey report entitled Xinjiang Cotton Brooks No Slander — Cotton Production ‘Forced Labor’ or Not in Xinjiang.
“It took us about two weeks to visit three places in Xinjiang of Aksu, Kashgar, and Hotan, where we interviewed local cotton growers, cotton pickers, cotton intermediaries, cotton textile manufactures, county and township government officials, and relevant personnel of village committees, and conducted field investigations on cotton planting and agricultural machinery,” said Shang Haiming, an author of the report and Associate Professor of the Human Rights Research Institute of SWUPL.
This report consists of four parts: The Mechanization of Cotton Production in Southern Xinjiang, Analysis on the Causes of Increasing Cotton Production, Research on Manual Cotton-Picking in Southern Xinjiang, and Conclusion.
The report indicates that the mechanization of cotton production in southern Xinjiang has been greatly improved in recent years, covering the entire process of plowing, sowing, management, harvesting, and finishing, thus ensuring efficient, automated, and intelligent cotton production.
As the mechanization level of cotton production rises, the traditional methods of employment have undergone significant changes. The demand for highly seasonal cotton-picking jobs has gradually decreased, and cotton-picking jobs have become increasingly scarce and sought-after. As a result, cotton pickers need to connect with major cotton growers to seek job opportunities actively.
The report points out that the high income of cotton pickers is the biggest motivation for people to engage in cotton picking spontaneously. Regarding the salary calculation, the principle of “more pay for more work” is generally adopted. In terms of salary settlement, cotton pickers have daily, weekly, and monthly settlement options.
As for the amount of salary, most full-time cotton pickers can earn more than 10,000 yuan (about 1561.23 U.S. dollars) during just one cotton-picking season, and part-time cotton pickers can make thousands of yuan. The income of most cotton pickers in one cotton-picking season equals or even exceeds the annual per capita disposable income of local rural residents.
The report emphasizes that cotton pickers of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have access to extensive and sufficient labor rights, and they can decide whether, when, where, and how to participate in cotton picking.
According to the report, cotton pickers engaged in cotton field management can arrange their working hours freely according to their actual work conditions. Part-time cotton pickers can partake in cotton picking to supplement their family income after completing their own housework.
To obtain a high income, some local industrial workers would rather give up the factory’s full attendance bonus and take time off to make extra money during the cotton-picking season.
The report outlines that Western countries’ accusations of Xinjiang’s cotton-picking are completely unfounded, and there is no forced labor in every link of Xinjiang’s cotton production process. Compared with other jobs, well-paid cotton picking is extremely sought-after among the locals in southern Xinjiang.
Especially with the extensive application of agricultural machinery, cotton-picking jobs have become increasingly scarce and sought-after. The facts show that the Western countries’ malicious slander of Xinjiang’s cotton-picking work is based on lies and false information.
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