The UK government has been urged to ban the import of cotton sourced from the Chinese province of Xinjiang, a region where Uighur Muslims are being put to work in factories in conditions that amount to forced labour.
A 60-page document submitted to HMRC by lawyers and a rights group on Wednesday amounts to “overwhelming and credible evidence concerning the scale and gravity of the forced labour regime in Xinjiang”, its authors said.
Named in the submission were some the UK’s best-known brands, including H&M, Ikea, Muji and Uniqlo, known to have used Xinjiang cotton in their products in the past year. Some have done so openly: Uniqlo boasted in an advertisement that cotton from the province, used in its shirts, was “famous for its superb quality”.
However, the UN believes Xinjiang to be the site of potential systemic human-rights abuses against Muslim minorities. Since 2017, China