US reviews report of imports from forced labor in China camp

In this Dec. 6, 2018 photo, Nurbakyt Kaliaskar cries as she speaks about her daughter's detainment in a Chinese internment camp during an interview in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (AP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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US reviews report of imports from forced labor in China camp

  • The US is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese detention camp where ethnic minorities must give up their religion and language
  • Following reports, the US said that it had suspended business with the Chinese supplier and was investigating.

BEIJING: The US government said Tuesday that it is reviewing reports of forced labor at a Chinese detention camp where ethnic minorities must give up their religion and language and may be subject to political indoctrination.
US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that reporting by The Associated Press and other media “for the first time appears to link the internment camps identified in Western China to the importation of goods produced by forced labor by a US company.”
The AP tracked shipments from a factory in a detention camp in China’s Xinjiang region to Badger Sportswear in North Carolina. The company ships clothing to universities, colleges and schools around the United States.
Following the reports, Badger said that it had suspended business with the Chinese supplier and was investigating.
The Washington-based Workers Rights Consortium, which has agreements with many educational institutions to make sure the products they sell on campus are ethically manufactured, said that “forced labor of any kind is a severe violation of university codes of conduct.”
It’s against US law to import products of forced labor. Customs and Border Protection said it is part of its mission to enforce “both laws to protect individuals from forced labor and our Nation’s economy from businesses profiting from this form of modern slavery.”


Bangladesh arrests Islamist extremist over deadly cafe attack

Updated 6 min 12 sec ago
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Bangladesh arrests Islamist extremist over deadly cafe attack

  • Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the elite Rapid Action Battalion, says the suspect supplied money and weapons for a local banned Islamist militant group
  • The arrested is one of the key “decision-makers” in the homegrown militia blamed for the attack
DHAKA: Bangladesh has arrested a suspected Islamist extremist who supplied weapons and explosives for a 2016 siege that killed 22 hostages, a top police official said Sunday.
Eighteen foreigners were among those shot and hacked to death in the 10-hour standoff at the Holey Artisan Bakery, an upmarket cafe in Dhaka, before military commandos stormed the building and freed some two dozen other people.
Mamunur Rashid was a key “decision-maker” in Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned homegrown Islamist militant outfit blamed for the attack.
The 30-year-old was arrested while traveling on a bus outside the capital Dhaka, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the elite Rapid Action Battalion.
Rashid “supplied money, arms, ammunition and explosives for the attack,” Khan told reporters.
“He hid in a neighboring country and tried to reorganize the group. They were also planning to rescue their accomplices from custody.”
A former computer operator and Islamic seminary student, Rashid also provided logistical support to Islamists involved in several deadly attacks on religious minorities in the country’s north, Khan said.
A court in Dhaka last month put eight militants on trial over the cafe attack.
Khan said Rashid was one of the two men charged in absentia, while the other six were already in custody.
The Holey Artisan Bakery siege fueled fears over violent Islamist groups in the Muslim-majority nation of 165 million people.
The government also launched a nationwide crackdown against extremists immediately after the attack, killing nearly 100 alleged extremists in gunfights including several top JMB leaders.
The attack marked a violent escalation from a spate of high-profile murders in the country since 2013, with extremists targeting Bangladeshi atheist writers, rights activists, gays, foreigners and religious minorities.
Bangladesh last week banned the release of a film based on the cafe attack, saying it would tarnish the country’s image.