“I’m not buying it, China”: The cost of fast fashion for religious and ethnic minorities in China’s Uyghur region

A new cotton jumper arrived in my post this week, with three words on the label that sent my mind spinning: ‘Made in China.’ Whereabouts in China? Was it made in the Uyghur region? Was this jumper a product of forced labour? A token of a part I had played – albeit unknowingly – in fuelling an industry which I knew to be entrenched in the plight of China’s religious and ethnic minorities?

Where does China’s cotton come from?

China is one of the world’s largest cotton producers and most of its cotton is produced in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Uyghur Region), referred to by many Uyghurs as ‘East Turkestan.’ Credible reports claim that the Uyghur Region produces 84% of China’s cotton output, and it is the main supplier and exporter of cotton, apparel, and textile products to Chinese factories, within China and internationally.[1] The Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour believes that 20% of the world’s cotton comes from the Uyghur Region.

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Voices from Cuba: Alain Toledano Valiente

Apostle Alain Toledano Valiente is a prominent leader in the Apostolic Movement in Cuba. He also leads Emanuel Church in Santiago de Cuba along with his wife, Marilín Alayo Correa. Pastor Toledano and his wife have experienced intense harassment at the hands of the Cuban authorities for over two decades.

In February 2016, over 200 church leaders in Pastor Toledano’s denomination were detained as the authorities demolished the Emanuel Church building. Pastor Toledano was out of the country at the time. Since then he has been prevented from leaving Cuba, subjected to repeated police summons, and threatened with imprisonment on multiple occasions.

In recent months, Pastor Toledano and his family have continued to experience severe harassment, even in spite of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown measures.

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Voces de Cuba: Alain Toledano Valiente

El apóstol Alain Toledano Valiente es un líder prominente en el Movimiento Apostólico en Cuba. También pastorea la Iglesia Emanuel en Santiago de Cuba con su esposa, Marilín Alayo Correa. Por más de dos décadas, han experimentado hostigamiento por parte de las autoridades cubanas.

En febrero del 2016, más de 200 líderes perteneciente a la denominación del Pastor Toledano fueron detenidos mientras las autoridades demolieron el edificio de la Iglesia Emanuel. El Pastor Toledano estaba fuera del país cuando la demolición ocurrió. Desde entonces ha sido frecuentemente impedido de viajar del país, sujetado a citaciones repetidas de la policía, y amenazado con el encarcelamiento en varias ocasiones.

En recientes meses, el Pastor Toledano y su familia ha continuado a experimentar acoso severo, a pesar de la pandemia COVID-19 y sus medidas relacionadas con el confinamiento.”

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Voces de Cuba: Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre

Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre es un periodista, productor documental y defensor de la libertad religiosa en Cuba.  Él y su esposa tienen una pequeña bebé y un niño en camino.  Fue miembro del movimiento Apostólico, una red independiente de iglesias protestantes a la cual el gobierno no le permite registrarse legalmente. Hoy se congrega en una Iglesia Metodista Independiente.

En julio de 2019 fue detenido y retenido sin cargo durante diez días. Los primeros cuatro, estuvo completamente incomunicado.  Fue detenido de nuevo en noviembre del mismo año, durante más de 24 horas.  Desde entonces ha experimentado constante acoso e intimidaciones por parte de las autoridades cubanas. 

Ricardo ha expresado a CSW su preocupación por que el gobierno cubano intente fabricar un caso penal contra él, como represalia por su activismo a favor de la libertad de religión y creencias en Cuba.

LEE MÁS

Voices from Cuba: Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre

Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre is a journalist, documenter and religious freedom defender in Cuba. Mr Fernández Izaguirre is married with an infant daughter and another child on the way. He was a member of the Apostolic Movement, an independent network of charismatic protestant churches which the government has refused to register. He currently attends an independent Methodist church.

In July 2019 he was detained and held without charge for ten days, the first four of which he was completely incommunicado. He was detained once again for over 24 hours in November 2019, and has faced regular harassment and intimidation at the hands of the Cuban authorities since then.

Mr Fernández Izaguirre has expressed fears to CSW that the Cuban government will attempt to fabricate a criminal case against him as an act of reprisal for his work defending religious freedom.

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