The Democrat-controlled House has passed the ESG Disclosure Simplification Act, a bill that will require public companies to report on how their operations impact global warming. Before passing it, Democrats rejected an amendment that would have also required companies to inform their shareholders if they engaged in activities with a Chinese official or company using slave labor.
The ESG Disclosure Simplification Act (H.R. 1187) passed the House on a 215-214 vote. The legislation is the first of its kind to specifically target corporate transparency in the area of sustainability issues, but Democrats believe it will force shareholders into using the information to pressure corporations on climate risk and other far-left issues.
The amendment was introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and would have required companies to annually disclose to shareholders activities with any “foreign entity” that “engages in, is responsible for, or facilitates the forced labor of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.”
If businesses doing business in China with companies using slave labor sounds familiar, you probably read my piece last month about John Kerry admitting to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that slaves were being used to provide the millions of solar panels he is preparing to import from China to fight global warming.
The slaves are the Uighurs (or Uyghurs as mentioned in Barr’s amendment), a Turkic-speaking people from interior Asia that live, for the most part. in northwestern China, in the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang.
In the hearing with Kerry, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, asked Kerry about providing assurances that Biden’s global warming strategy wouldn’t involve solar panels produced from slave labor. In Kerry’s classic dithering fashion, he told McCaul he was “absolutely correct” in his concerns, and called it “a problem.”
“Xinjiang Province not only produces some of the solar panels that we believe are being in some cases produced in forced labor by Uighur[s], but also there are significant amounts of a certain rare earth mineral that’s used in the solar panels themselves.” (emphasis mine)
Kerry never committed to preventing the import of slave-manufactured panels, but he covered his tracks by indicating that the Biden administration might be moving in that direction by imposing sanctions against Xinjiang Province.
Sanctions? Yeah, that’ll end the murder, rape, and torture of China’s slave labor force, and if it doesn’t, China can always dispose of the bodies in a “green” fashion by turning them into compost. Let’s call it a win-win for Mother Earth.
But the use of slave labor by US corporations isn’t limited to global warming and solar panels. “Woke” corporations in America that have made social justice and ending “systemic racism” official company policy are also cashing in on China’s slave labor enterprise (via The Daily Caller).
A number of companies and brands have been linked to labor forced on Uighur Muslims by the Chinese government, according to multiple reports.
Apple supplier Lens Technology uses Uighur workers in its factories, according to documents obtained by the Tech Transparency Project. These workers were transferred from labor camps in the Xinjiang region of western China, WaPo reported.
Apple, which has said that it is committed to donating to organizations that “challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration,” is not the only company to come under scrutiny for its links to slave labor. In a spring 2020 report titled “Uyghurs For Sale,” the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that at least 83 popular, household-name brands are “potentially directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through abusive labour transfer programs as recently as 2019.”
The report listed popular clothing companies Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas, Gap, Calvin Klein, H&M, L.L.Bean, Lacoste, Nike, The North Face, Polo Ralph Lauren, Puma, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, and Victoria’s Secret, as well as General Motors, Goertek, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and more. Many of these companies prolifically spoke out against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd [last] May.
In the interest of being fair and balanced, Barr only offered sanctions in his amendment for foreign entities that used forced labor, built detention camps, or provided technology for mass surveillance in the Uyghur Autonomous Region. It also included sanctions for foreign entities that undermined democratic institutions in Hong Kong.
“If we are truly concerned by public companies who may be working with bad actors, particularly bad actors responsible for China’s worst human rights abuses, then burying their name on the SEC’s website will achieve absolutely nothing,” Barr said. “We need to ensure that they are referred to the Treasury Department so that we can impose sanctions.”
Sanctions are a compromise between doing what’s necessary and doing nothing and amount to little more that feel-goodism. And when you consider how the US companies listed above are currently doing business with China despite existing sanctions, I find it hard to get too excited about new sanctions making much of a difference.
Less than three months ago, the United States, Canada, Britain and European Union, introduced a variety of coordinated sanctions against China to allegedly hold the nation accountable for the human rights abuses of Uyghurs, Politico reported.
“The United States reiterates its calls on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to bring an end to the repression of Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang, including by releasing all those arbitrarily held in internment camps and detention facilities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
For the record, China produces more CO2 than every other country on Earth combined — an inconvenient truth Kerry admitted to in last month’s committee hearing:
“Climate is existential for everybody on the planet. We have to deal with it, and because China is nearly 30% of all the emissions on the planet, China’s got to be part of the solution.”
And here’s an irony: Biden’s so-called Climate Envoy admitted back in January that the Green Agenda is doomed to fail: “Almost 90 percent of all of the planet’s global emissions come from outside of U.S. borders. We could go to zero tomorrow and the problem isn’t solved.” (emphasis mine)
In celebration of Vladimir Lenin’s birthday (aka Earth Day 2021), Kerry proudly announced that progress was being made in China after he succeeded in getting Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders to finally, at long last, use the word “crisis” to describe so-called climate change:
“China used the word crisis for the first time. … China came around and said it is urgent.
“They didn’t just talk about plateauing or peaking, they have now agreed there must be actions between 2020 and 2030.”
Apparently, none of those actions will be the emancipation of the Uighur slaves, but if they keep pumping out solar panels to fight the “crisis” of global warming — and as long as US corporate fat-cats keep giving them money — John Kerry and the Democrats are OK with slave labor.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.