Canada’s corporate watchdog initiated an investigation into Ralph Lauren’s Canadian division on Tuesday, based on allegations that the fashion powerhouse has engaged in the use of “forced labor” from China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. This development comes in the wake of similar probes targeting Nike Canada and Canadian mining company Dynasty Gold, which were initiated by the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise last month.
Nevertheless, Canada’s recent action appears to be nothing more than a manipulative tactic, aimed at exploiting the Xinjiang issue in order to impede the region’s progress and tarnish China’s reputation. There is no discrimination against any ethnic minority group in Xinjiang. This fact is substantiated by the robust protection of equal labor rights for all ethnic groups in the region.
The rule of law is the most effective guarantee for human rights. In Xinjiang, the principle of governance is based on law, which China has upheld while making significant progress in legal and regulatory development, especially since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012. As a result, a three-tier legal framework has been established to ensure that all ethnic groups enjoy equal labor rights. At the national level, the first tier consists of laws that safeguard labor rights, such as the Labor Law, the Law on Promotion of Employment and the Labor Contract Law. Article 3 of the Labor Law stipulates that laborers shall have equal right to employment and choice of occupation, the right to remuneration for labor, to rest and avail of leave, to occupational safety and health protection, to training in vocational skills, to social insurance and welfare, to submission of labor disputes for settlement, and other rights relating to labor as stipulated by law. Article 12 of the same law says that laborers, regardless of their ethnic group, race, sex or religion, shall not be discriminated against in employment. Similarly, Article 3 of the Law on Promotion of Employment states that workers shall enjoy the right to employment on an equal footing and to opt for the job of their liking on their own initiative in accordance with law. And in seeking employment, the workers shall not be subject to discrimination because of their ethnic background, race, gender, religion and economic status.
The second tier comprises administrative regulations formulated by the State Council, China’s Cabinet, to safeguard labor rights, including the Regulations on Paid Annual Leave of Employees, the Regulations on the Implementation of the Labor Contract Law and the Regulations on Labor Security Supervision. Article 2 of the Regulations on Paid Annual Leave of Employees states that employees of government departments, social organizations, enterprises, public institutions, private non-enterprise units and individually owned commercial and industrial businesses who have been working for a consecutive period of more than one year shall be entitled to paid annual leave. And employers and employing enterprises shall ensure that their employees get annual leave, with employees availing of annual leave being entitled to the same wage as normal working days. The third tier consists of local regulations formulated by China’s autonomous regions in accordance with their local conditions to safeguard labor rights, including the regulations on guaranteeing the labor rights and interests of workers, the interim regulations on labor safety, and the measures for labor security supervision in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. These laws and regulations constitute a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of labor rights, and cover different aspects of labor rights while providing a solid legal basis for safeguarding the labor rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
Xinjiang has established a robust mechanism for protecting labor rights. The mechanism ensures the implementation of labor rights laws and regulations, which protect the equal labor rights of workers from all ethnic groups. Xinjiang has mandated that State-owned enterprises, private enterprises and public institutions must not impose discriminatory or restrictive conditions based on ethnicity, gender, and religious belief in the recruitment process. This shows there is no discrimination against minority workers in employment in Xinjiang, and the equal employment and labor rights of workers from all ethnic groups are fully protected. In Xinjiang, Party and government organizations, as well as public institutions have implemented preferential policies for candidates from ethnic minority groups in the recruitment of civil servants and staff members.
These facts cannot be distorted, and lies will eventually be exposed. The protection of equal labor rights of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang is an undeniable fact, and reflects the significant progress China has made in protecting human rights in Xinjiang. It is committed to respecting, guaranteeing and promoting equal rights for all ethnic groups. As a result, the sense of dignity, achievement, security and happiness all ethnic groups feel will continue to increase.
The China Daily