The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has placed millions of indigenous Uyghur and Kazakh citizens from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR or Uyghur Region) into what the government calls 'surplus labour' and 'labour transfer' programmes. An official PRC government report published in November 2020 documents the 'placement' of 2.6 million citizens in jobs in farms and factories within the Uyghur Region and across the country through these state-sponsored 'surplus labour' and 'labour transfer' initiatives.
The government claims that these programmes are in accordance with PRC law and that workers are engaged voluntarily, in a concerted government-supported effort to alleviate poverty. However, significant evidence – largely drawn from government and corporate sources – reveals that labour transfers are deployed in the Uyghur Region within an environment of unprecedented coercion, undergirded by the constant threat of re-education and internment. Many indigenous workers are unable to refuse or walk away from these jobs, and thus the programmes are tantamount to forcible transfer of populations and enslavement.