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Friday, September 11, 2020

Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo: Profiting off Chinese Forced Labour (Uyghur Internment!)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Will anything ever change?

The mainstream media has not been reporting this as loudly as they should be (and you can speculate in the comments section for the reason why, though there will be many other things you'll find yourself wanting to comment on by the time you read through this whole article), so I'll do it: China has transferred tens of thousands (some sources say a million—it's hard to have exact counts on anything when it comes to China) of ethnic minorities into “re-education camps”, including Uyghur/Uighur Muslims—where the humans are locked up and are forced to labour in factories that produce familiar products.

KoopaTV shouldn't normally be your source for anything relating to human rights, since we tend to care mostly about Koopas and not humans, but this actually directly impacts the videogame industry. ...Though even if it didn't, we'd want to talk about it, if only because we're sick of, and disgusted by, the actions of the Communist Chinese Party.

For this article, I'm going to summarise the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's lengthy and dense report on the topic. (If you're wondering what that is, the ASPI was founded by the Australian government and partially funded by their Department of Defence. See their full list of funding sources here, which includes some of the companies with problematic supply chains.) Refer to the source if you want more detail, but I'm gonna try to make it more approachable for the audience that reads the site, just so you can understand what's going on. There's also a complete list of companies that benefit from the labour camps in that report, but since this is KoopaTV, the names I'm writing here are familiar entertainment giants like Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Oculus, Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Starting a few years back (perhaps 2017), the Chinese Communist Party has been relocating (via TRAINS!) Uyghurs and other minorities from the Xinjiang region of China, which borders the “stan” countries like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan. The majority of the people living in this region are Muslims of one denomination or another. They're culturally different than the average Chinese person, so they're seen as an “other” ethnic minority that may have their own values than what the Chinese Communist Party espouses. (Islam has quite different traditions than the secular Chinese.)

As a result, China wishes to “re-educate” the people. The government doesn't deny that they have a bunch of Uyghur workers, but they do deny that the re-education is mandatory or that it is violating anyone's rights. Instead, the government claims it's a voluntary value-add for the Uyghurs involved, where they can apparently “become ‘more physically attractive’ and learn to ‘take daily showers’.” But the report then provides details that if re-education camp detainees disobeyed the Chinese Communist Party's work assignments at the factories or were found with a Quran (holy Islamic scripture) on their person or their phones, they would be detained for more years. They're also constantly monitored in other ways. They were forced by the government to participate in work and re-education designed to eliminate their religious identity.

The report goes into three case studies, one involving a shoe factory that primarily serves Nike, the second involving faraway Chinese clothing manufacturers that are “fully enclosed by perimeter fencing”, and the third involves Apple. They describe workers being shipped from Xinjiang to the other side of China, where they don't know the language and can't interact with others. (There is a financial award for transferring labour outside of Xinjiang that is 15x the financial award of transferring labour within Xinjiang.) The factories are signing up to receive the workers and pay them a minimal amount of money, but are also compensated by the government.

Famous abusive factory Foxconn also accepts transferred labourers from Xinjiang, and they manufacture electronics for all of the major gaming players, as well as many other electronics companies.

Hubei Yihong Dongguan Yidong Electronics Sony Nintendo Microsoft Uygher slave labour China
Here is a figure from the report showing Hubei Yihong, a subsidiary of Dongguan Yidong Electronic Co. Ltd.
They supply backlights and battery covers for companies like Apple, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.
105 Uyghur labourers were transferred there in 2018. Hubei Province is over 2000 miles away from Xinjiang.
To compare, that's just slightly less than the distance of many Africa to Americas slave-trading routes,
which also featured forcibly taking people seen as inferior by those in power, and transferred to an unknown location and made to toil for someone else's financial gain.

When I once wrote (as recently as the start of July 2020) that Nintendo investors should be asking the company real questions, their supply chain reliance on China (and their slave labour) would've been a great one to ask. Unfortunately, investors only seem to care about how many Nintendo Switch units that Nintendo will be able to sell in China. No one seems concerned about human rights.

Granted, Nintendo's name doesn't come up as often as many other companies. But you generally (for moral or even legal reasons) don't want your products and brand to be associated with modern-day slavery. The report notes that suddenly removing your company from these Chinese supply chains could have very unintended consequences. What do you think happens to the livelihoods and safety of the Uyghur people when the Chinese Communist Party is told that their labour is no longer desired? The Chinese communists do have the ability to hold the Uyghurs’ well-being hostage. They have a history of massacres and cultural cleansing, you know.

...Still, the status quo isn't good. Global companies NEED to be excluding China from their supply chains. It's good for human rights. It's also good for managing geopolitical risk. It might hurt the people you're trying to help in the short-term, but dealing economic blows to the Chinese Communist Party and isolating them on the world stage will ultimately help everyone.



Ludwig is sometimes asked why he dislikes the Chinese Communist Party so much, as if it isn't obvious already. Well, forced labour is a big no-no, as is shutting down free speech and any form of dissent, as is taking away people's livelihoods and freedoms, as is spreading a plague across the planet. Don't forget all of the intellectual property theft they do. The Chinese Communist Party's values are quite antithetical to almost any other civilisation, be it Western-style democracy, Koopa Kingdom monarchy, or however the Uyghur Muslims would be governing themselves if the Chinese weren't whisking them away for “re-education” and cleansing their culture. Unfortunately, they hold a bunch of economic power predicated on having a population of hundreds of millions of low-wage peasants, and multinational corporations, including the gaming industry, are perfectly happy to take advantage of that if it means saving a few cents per unit. It's disgusting, even for a depraved Koopaling like Ludwig. Don't you agree?


Nintendo has gotten in trouble for profiting off slavery when it came to conflict minerals.
A previous KoopaTV article published on September 11 said to never forget that Jihadists attacked the United States. There's no reason to believe that Uyghur Muslims are classified as Jihadists.
The next time Nintendo investors get to ask Nintendo questions, they continue to avoid asking about this subject. Their complicity makes the situation get worse.

4 comments :

  1. FINALLY A GOOD ARTICLE THIS IS MUCH BETTER THAN YESTERDAY'S TELETUBBIES ARTICLE WTF EVEN IS THAT. TY FOR WRITING THIS BUT I THOUGHT U WERE ISLAMOPHOBIC??? WOULDNT U LIKE ETHNIC CLEANSING OF MUSLIMS?? EITHER WAY, I OBVIOUSLY AGREE WITH THE PREMISE OF THE ARTICLE WHICH I DECIDED TO READ TODAY SINCE IT WAS RELEVANT TO MY LIFE. AS TO WHY TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS ARE ENGAGING IN MODERN DAY SLAVERY, THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS- THE UNFETTERED CAPITALIST SYSTEM THAT RULES THE MODERN WORLD! WHY WOULDN'T CORPORATIONS TAKE THE CHEAPEST OPTION REGARDLESS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IF IT DRIVES DOWN THEIR COSTS AND INCREASES PROFIT?

    WHY WILL WESTERN MEDIA NOT COVER THIS MODERN DAY ISSUE? A SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLEX ISSUE, BUT ONE THAT I THEORISE WITH TWO MAIN IDEAS- 1 BEING THAT CHINA IS OBVIOUSLY AN INCREDIBLY POWERFUL STATE ECONOMICALLY, AND CRITICISM AND/OR BOYCOTTING OF THE NATION (ESPECIALLY BY MUSLIM COUNTRIES THAT WOULD BE MORE LIKELY TO TAKE ACTION) RELY ON CHINA'S ECONOMIC SUPPORT WHICH WOULD BE QUICKLY WITHDRAWN WITH ANY ACTION. THIS ISN'T ONLY RESTRICTED TO MUSLIM COUNTRIES, HOWEVER, AS CLEARLY MANY LARGE WESTERN CORPORATIONS AND GOVERNMENTS ARE INVESTED IN CHINA AND CONTINUE TO EXPLOIT THE LOW WAGES AND BRUTAL CONDITIONS IN THE COUNTRY. THESE PARTIES WOULD ALSO THEREFORE LIKE TO CONTINUE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SYSTEM FOR THEIR OWN ECONOMIC BENEFIT AND/OR TO NOT DEAL WITH THE WRATH OF THE CHINESE.

    RELATING TO THIS, THE SECOND MAIN REASON THAT I HAVE COME UP WITH AS TO WHY MEDIA REFUSES TO COVER THIS EXTENSIVELY IS SIMPLY DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ENSLAVED ARE MUSLIMS, AND COVERING AN ATROCITY RELATING SPECIFICALLY TO A MUSLIM GROUP WOULD ABSOLUTELY CONTRADICT THE AGENDA OF WESTERN MEDIA, ESPECIALLY IN THE UNITED STATES. FOR THE AMOUNT OF TRASH TALK TRUMP SHOOTS TOWARDS CHINA, HE HAS NOT SPOKEN VERY MUCH ABOUT THE UYGHUR SITUATION AND FOR OBVIOUS REASONS-HIS BASE DOESN'T LIKE MUSLIMS, SO WHY WOULD HE RISK A POLITICAL MOVE TO SAVE MUSLIMS? I'M SURE TRUMP AND HIS ADMINISTRATION WOULD RATHER KEEP THE STORY QUIET, SO THEY JUST DON'T ADDRESS IT. BOTH THE LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE WING OF AMERICAN MEDIA ARE ISLAMOPHOBIC, THE CNNs AND NBCs ARE JUST DOING IT ON THE DOWNLOW COMPARED TO FOX. IN ADDITION THE AMERICAN MEDIA IS FAR TOO SELF-CENTERED AND BARELY CARES ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD ANYWAYS UNLESS THEY ARE DIRECTLY INVOLVED LOL!

    ok anyways idk what else to write but finally good article gj lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...I'm disturbed by the fact the comment is in all-capitals, but you're actually correct in at least your second and third paragraph.

      I just want to clarify that I'm against Islamic terrorism (and all terrorism), but that's far different than being supportive of ethnic cleansing.
      However, for China, part of their reasoning for targeting the Muslims in their country is BECAUSE they see their religious freedom as a threat to the Chinese government/state, be it because freedom = bad or China sees all Muslims as terrorists.

      You are right that Muslims are much more likely to be viewed as "acceptable targets" than other groups, and thus they get apathy. That said, I think some conservative groups have greater ire for China than for Muslims, so, say, Fox News is covering this story to a limited degree.
      However, they omit entirely from the story that the ethnic minorities in question are Muslims. They're just vague ethnic minorities, and the story slant is more about making a political point than actually caring about the Uyghurs and others.

      You're right that the President hasn't talked much about the Uyghur situation, and it's shame on him for ignoring it. He also isn't talking much about the Hong Kong situation, so it's probably less of a Muslim thing and more of a larger pattern that President Donald John Trump does not care about anyone's human rights.

      Delete
    2. good point trump kinda bad person LUL. i didnt talk about china's reasons for doing what they are doing but yes, both of those reasons would be correct in my mind as well. anyways cool im going back to trolling with your next article :DDDDDDDDDDDDDD

      Delete
    3. Uh, well, alright. It was nice talking with you somewhat normally. >_>

      Delete

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