Commentary: Stop tainting Xinjiang's pure cotton with dirty politics

(Xinhua) 16:27, March 26, 2021

URUMQI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- If there is anything that can best illustrate some Western anti-China forces' mudslinging on China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, it would be the region's cotton constantly tainted by groundless rumors.

Some Western politicians continue to cite false reports of "forced labor" in the Chinese region's cotton and textile industry, forcing bans on imports or sourcing of Xinjiang cotton out of so-called "human rights concerns."

These political hands with ulterior motives suffered a backlash this week. Many Chinese citizens voiced anger at some foreign apparel brands' decisions to stop sourcing from Xinjiang based on lies or under Western political pressure.

Western politicians' concern for Xinjiang is fake, but the anger of Chinese consumers and Xinjiang locals is real. These sanctions hurt millions of people in Xinjiang who rely on the crop for a better life.

Xinjiang's cotton matters in the Chinese and the global market. As the largest cotton-growing region in China, Xinjiang makes up some 87 percent of the country's total cotton output and about one-fifth of the world's total.

Industrial data showed that some 7 million rural residents in Xinjiang are engaged in the cotton industry, with the majority being ethnic minorities. Cotton farming is the major source of local agricultural income in southern Xinjiang.

Nearly 70 percent of Xinjiang's cotton fields use machinery to pick cotton during the harvesting season, making large-scale manual cotton-picking a thing of the past. Certain plots of land where harvesting with machinery is impractical still offer temporary but decent-paying jobs for many cotton pickers from Xinjiang or other parts of China.

Local people in the autonomous region have created a prosperous and happy life through their hard and honest work. They provide the world with quality goods like cotton and deserve respect and acknowledgment, rather than politically motivated smearing.

The misguided and baseless boycott of Xinjiang cotton will hurt many people in Xinjiang as it robs them of their rights to jobs with decent pay and a better life.

That is why some Xinjiang enterprises and locals are suing Adrian Zenz, a member of a far-right group established by the U.S. government who has kept fabricating reports about Xinjiang.

Stop tainting Xinjiang's pure cotton with dirty politics. These Western politicians and enterprises should earnestly practice due diligence on what is really happening in Xinjiang before making any accusations or taking any action.

(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)


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