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South African Retailers Under Pressure to Ensure Supply Chains Free of Xinjiang Cotton

File image of a Uyghur worker in a Taklamakan Desert, south of Urumqi, capital of China's far west Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in Central Asia. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN

South Africa’s major retailers are under scrutiny from civil society groups to ensure their supply chains do not contain any apparel products that use cotton from China’s Xinjiang autonomous region. There are well-documented concerns that Uyghur minority populations are forced to pick cotton by hand.

Xinjiang produces an estimated 20% of the world’s total cotton output.

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