DANIEL VAUGHAN: Woke corporate America defends Chinese slavery

We’re nearing the end of June, which means corporate America will begin removing the rainbow colors from its logos. It will mark the end of yet another sham month where woke, corporate capitalists pretend to care about human rights.

It’s a sham because the U.S. Congress is united in its attempts to target modern slave labor and ethnic cleansing, and woke progressives in corporate America are fighting against those attempts. 

The House and the Senate are working on passing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The House passed a version of the legislation in 2020 by a resounding 406–3 vote. According to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Senate sponsor of the legislation, the upper chamber stands ready for a full vote on the measure. 

The legislation “imposes various restrictions related to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, including by prohibiting certain imports from Xinjiang and imposing sanctions on those responsible for human rights violations there.” In essence, it bans the import of any goods or materials from the regions of China that have connections to slave labor.

According to the End Slavery Now campaign:

The Uighurs (pronounced Wee-goors) are a Muslim ethnic and religious minority in western China. Many of them have been enslaved by the Chinese government under the guise of offering them an escape from poverty and preventing the spread of religious fanaticism. Christians are also forced to work in labor camps in the name of “re-education.” Practitioners of Falun Gong, a meditative spiritual practice also known as Falun Dafa, have also been targeted for forced labor, torture, and sometimes death.

In December, an extensive and brow-raising report connected a long list of U.S.-based companies with intricate supply chains linked to Chinese slave labor products.

The report listed a number of prominent technology, clothing, and car manufacturers such as, “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 Victorias Secret, as well as General Motors, Goertek, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagon, and more.”

The proposed legislation would force those companies to clean up their supply chains and no longer rely on slave-connected regions for goods, materials, or manufacturing services, and if they continue to do so, they will lose the ability to import to the United States.

The newly proposed guidelines make sense, as they will ensure that the American consumer isn’t being forced to purchase goods produced by slave labor in the name of American companies profiting from reduced-labor costs and re-education camps, which feels like something out the worst of Soviet or Nazi nightmares.

The new legislation should prove to be effective in combating the perverse institution of slavery in a modern context. But not if you’re one of the woke, rainbow logo companies that seem to enjoy proclaiming woke capitalist tendencies.

In January, The New York Times reported that Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola had spent considerable resources trying to lobby and weaken or otherwise sink the legislation before it has a chance to pass. 

Nike issued a weak statement proclaiming that forced labor was terrible, while also assuring their Chinese audience in a separate statement that “Nike is a brand that is of China and for China.” 

As National Review noted, “The Nike statement in March might have sounded like a reversal, but it seemed like the company saw it as a low cost way in which to placate U.S. consumers perturbed by its alleged use of forced labor in China.”

Nike will happily promote rainbow logos or use Colin Kaepernick to blast the United States as a systemically racist country. But when actual slavery is involved — when real people are getting murdered by a regime bent on ethnic and religious genocide — Nike seemed all too quick to defend its bottom line.

Nike isn’t alone, however, as all of the aforementioned companies are rushing to profit from China’s slave labor while trying to appear as “woke” and as “progressive” as possible to U.S. consumers. Woke leftist capitalism, it turns out, will readily support the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to wipe out ethnic and religious minorities while hiding behind the empty morality of woke leftism.

We have to remember that it’s not as if those companies are sitting idly by and going with the flow on whatever the fight is between the United States and China. Like Nike, some of the companies listed are actively fighting legislative attempts by the U.S. government to go after modern slavery in China.

They aren’t innocent bystanders; they’re actively aiding and abetting Chinese slave labor and attempting to prevent America from responding appropriately. 

Actions will speak louder than words in this regard. It turns out that the rainbow logo companies seemingly do not care — even the slightest — about human rights of any kind. As they continue espousing woke politics to American consumers, we should continue reminding them that they’re fighting Congress in its attempts to stand up to the Chinese communist slave economy.