U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley Challenges Nike, NBA: ‘Will You Pledge You Are Slave Free?’

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing on June 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. The committee is examining the implementation of the CARES Act, which has handed out billions of dollars of government-backed forgivable loans to small-business …
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U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R, MO) took to Twitter on Tuesday to challenge Nike and its business partner, the NBA, to end its association with the companies that use Chinese slave labor to manufacture their products.

On Tuesday, Sen. Hawley tweeted out a challenge to both the NBA and Nike to pledge that they are “#slavefree.”

The Senator is urging corporate leaders and high-profile athletes including LeBron James to eliminate the products that they endorse that are made with slave labor:

Hawley was spurred to his questions by the many reports that Nike and the NBA use Chinese slave labor to produce their shoes, jerseys, and other products that they earn billions from by selling to American sports fans and athletes.

Only months ago, for instance, the Washington Post reported that Nike shoes are made in factories in Qingdao, China, where Chinese authorities imprison its ethnic Muslim Uyghur and force them to work in the factories that make Nike products.

Last year, activists also revealed a shocking video that showed hundreds of young men in prison uniforms, bound and blindfolded, and sitting cross-legged on the ground near a railroad depot as armed guards in black watched over them.

Analysis of the video lends credence to its veracity and finds that the video was recorded in mid-August of last year near the factory sector of Xinjiang, China.

It has been reported that many of the prisoners in this region are comprised of China’s Uyghur ethnic minority. The use of Uyghurs as a forced labor force was recently chronicled in an extensive report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

The reports says that between 2017 and 2019, the Chinese government relocated a minimum 80,000 Uighurs from Xinjiang in western China to factories across the country where they work “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor.” The government is reportedly using the slave labor for manufacturing items ordered by some 83 international companies making everything from footwear to electronics.

“The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uighur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country,” the ASPI report revealed. “Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor, Uighurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing, and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony, and Volkswagen.”

In the end, Sen. Hawley wants to know if Nike and the NBA have stopped using this slave labor to make their products.

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