African American women spend over a hundred dollars a month on hair coming from China. Hair is not only a symbol of identity and beauty for them. But even the customers themselves often don’t know exactly where the products are coming from.
Be it hairstyles or a full wig, most of them come from China. Both natural and synthetic hair sold to the United States last year for nearly $ 1 billion. At the same time, she often comes from Xinjiang, an autonomous region of the persecuted minority Uighurs in western China, which the regime largely shuts down in re-education and labor camps.
Some hair products are directly referred to as “Xinjiang untreated human hair”. The US authorities are currently investigating whether it could be obtained through protests by its original carriers. In July, the US Customs Department arrested up to thirteen tons of hair.
“We have a reasonable suspicion that they manufactured products from a consignment in forced labor in China,” said Brenda Smith of the US Customs Service. I & I Hair was the biggest hair customer, which in January cut off cooperation with the supplier from Xinjiang. “They need to know their suppliers and stop making products from forced labor,” Smith added.
China objected to the US investigation. “Under the pretext of so-called forced labor, the United States has adopted restrictions against related Chinese companies, in violation of international law,” said Wang Winbin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Beijing has set up camps for Uyghurs, along with factories, under the pretext of the government’s anti-poverty program. At the same time, it offers investors cheap labor and tax breaks. Meanwhile, Chinese state media is showing a positive picture of life in the camps and work in factories. But the reality is very different from those who have spent time in it.
“None of us worked there voluntarily. They told me I came from a terrorist country. The Kazak Golzera, who originally came from Xinjiang, said,“ They cut my hair and took blood samples from me. ”The Chinese detained her at the border in 2017 when she came to the country to visit her father .
Then members of the Chinese security forces took her to a detention camp, where she was forced to cram her into a cell with dozens of other people. Instead of toilets, they shared a bucket.