Politico Fears Most Chinese Solar Panels Include Components Manufactured by Uighur Slaves
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t JoNova; European solar manufacturers have claimed nearly every solar panel purchased from China has its origins in the Chinese slave factories of Xinjiang.
Fears over China’s Muslim forced labor loom over EU solar power
Panels include components produced in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, where there are concerns about forced labor camps for Muslim minorities, including Uighurs.
Nearly every solar power panel sold in the European Union has its origins in China’s oppressed Xinjiang region.
The solar industry and Brussels lawmakers argue Europe’s renewable energy push should not come at a human cost amid long-standing international concern over reports China has detained 1 million people with Muslim backgrounds in camps in Xinjiang and is putting them to work.
“Everybody knows what’s going on in China, and when facilities are based there you have to accept that there’s a high possibility that forced labor will be used,” said Milan Nitzschke, president of EU ProSun, an alliance of solar businesses seeking to promote sustainable, solar manufacturing based in the EU.
While the U.S. has already rolled out sanctions against products such as cotton and tomatoes originating from Xinjiang, the European Commission has avoided confronting China with any trade measures.
“Nearly every silicon-based solar module — at least 95 percent of the market — is likely to have some Xinjiang silicon in,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BloombergNEF.
Link to a February 2021 BBC interview with former Uighur detainees, including a former slave discussing how she was gang raped, and a former camp guard, who claims he left because he could no longer stomach the cruelty of what he was required to do by the officers, stripping and shackling the women and girls so they couldn’t resist being abused by other guards, or abused by outsiders who paid prison officers for a chance to revel in their darkest perversions.
I believe the claims in the BBC interview. Solar panels require a lot of coal in their manufacture, to chemically strip oxygen from the silica, and Xinjiang has a lot of very cheap high quality coal, likely because the Xinjiang Chinese coal bosses don’t have to pay their workers.
What about Wind power? Don’t think for a moment that wind power is free from this taint. Most of the world’s Rare Earth elements, critical to high efficiency electricity generators used in wind turbines, are manufactured in an environmental disaster of a facility in Inner Mongolia. Although less well known than the camps in Xinjiang, China is also believed to operate slave labour facilities in Inner Mongolia, with relocated Uighur Muslims slaves working alongside Inner Mongolian political dissidents. I doubt free Chinese would want to handle the most health damaging steps in the process, when there are expendable slaves available. I doubt the slaves whom I suspect are handling the hideously toxic chemicals required to refine Rare Earths for wind turbines are offered much in the way of costly personal protection equipment.
We are obviously not going to convince Joe Biden to pause his renewable energy push, but surely as a matter of conscience, everyone can agree that not one solar panel or wind turbine should be sourced from suspected Chinese slave labour, not one component should come from tainted Chinese sources – which given extensive distribution of slaves throughout the Chinese economy, pretty much covers all Chinese exports, from what I can see.
Every penny which goes to the brutal slave masters in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia helps to pay for and perpetuate this barbarity.
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