A North Carolina company supplying clothing to US schools has broken ties with a Chinese company accused of using labor in internment camps.
Badger Sportswear announced Thursday that it would no longer work with Hetian Taida Apparel as a result of an investigation into media reports that Muslim detainees held in Chinese internment camps are fabricating some of his products.
"After hearing this information in the press, we immediately suspended any order, receipt or shipment of any product from the supplier, Hetian Taida Apparel Co., Ltd., and launched a multi-faceted investigation," said Badger Sportswear. in a statement posted on his website.
"For the sake of caution and to eliminate any concerns about our supply chain, given the controversy surrounding commercial activities in northwestern China, we will no longer supply any products from Hetian Taida or that region. China region, "the statement added. "In addition, we will not ship any products from Hetian Taida currently in our possession."
A December survey by the Good Politic revealed that Badger Sportswear had received ongoing shipments from a factory located in a Chinese internment camp where ethnic minorities are forced to work and live.
These imports were illegal because they were the product of forced labor, which the United States and the UN call a form of modern slavery, according to the Good Politic.
Investigators discovered that one of Hetian Taida's factories in China adhered to good business practices that meet the standards set by World Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Good Politic reported. But WRAP said it did not send representatives to the factory located at the center of the previous Good Politic investigation.
"Our model is focused on factories that require us to audit," WRAP spokesman Seth Lennon told the press service. "We are not looking for any factory to perform unsolicited audits."
Two years ago, the Chinese government launched a "re-education" campaign targeting ethnic Uygur and Kazakh ethnic minorities. As part of the campaign, Chinese authorities have arrested thousands of people in internment camps, where many are forced to perform menial work.
China is facing growing international pressure on the camps, described as human rights abuses.
The Good Politic found that an internment camp in Hotan, a town in Xinjiang, is home to ten workshops where detainees make clothes for Hetian Taida Apparel.
Badger Sportswear supplies sports equipment to sports teams in the United States, including high school teams. Schools across the country began removing Badger products from their shelves after the report.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told Good Politic that Badger Sportswear was acting for "misinformation" when they decided to cut the ties.
In its statement, Badger said the Chinese supplier accounted for 1% of its total annual sales. He does not expect an "interruption" of his "service levels".