Why is the cotton from Xinjiang so beloved?

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A few days after the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Angela Merkel gave a compelling speech expressing Germany’s strong concern on freedom and human rights issues.

“But the values on which Europe is founded - freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, respect for human rights - are anything but self-evident. (...) In the future too, Europe must stand up for democracy and freedom, for human rights and tolerance. In times of profound technological and global change, this is more topical than ever.”

However, her acts belie her words.

The Germany federal parliament recently voted on a motion which proposes to cease, investigate and punish serious human rights violations in Xinjiang, China. (DE: Schwere Menschenrechtsverletzungen in Xinjiang beenden, aufklären und ahnden.) The motion has multiple demands, for example asking the Chinese government to release Uyghurs whose lives are endangered by the Chinese government, via the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Home Affairs not to deport Uighurs and ethnic Kazakhs to China, just to name a few.

While the motion is supported by the Green Party and FDP, the parliament has rejected the motion due to votes from the CDU/CSU, SPD, and AfD, whereas CDU is the political party which chancellor Angela Merkel belongs to.

Being known as the "Town of Cotton" in China, Awat boasts high-quality cotton and high-efficiency in production.

The human rights issues in Xinjiang may seem remote, yet in fact they have already been exported from China to every corner of the world, including Germany. As close as your neighbourhood, and even inside your wardrobe. China is the largest cotton producer in the world , accounting for 26% of global exports and almost 85% of its cotton is picked by Uyghurs in Xinjiang. World renowned retail chains, including IKEA, Muji, Uniqlo, H&M, Jeanswest, and Dangerfield, were revealed to have purchased cotton from Xinjiang — but most of the brands do not present "Xinjiang Cotton" as a selling point.

Since the Ürümqi riots in 2009, Xinjiang has long been under high degree control under the Communist Party of China (CPC). After Xi had become the president of China, the suppression of dissidents has become astonishingly strong. Under the name of deterring Uyghurs from extremism, the CPC takes various measures to erase Uyghuran cultures, identities and their religious beliefs. On one hand, the 
Uyghurs’ cemeteries were removed and rebuilt into so-called “Happiness parks”, and the islamic religious sites were further demolished. On the other hand, the Uyghurs are forced to celebrate Chinese festivals and abandon their mother language.

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