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Whether“Forced Labor” Exists in Xinjiang,I Have the Most Say

Hekemu Turupu,cotton grower from Pishan County

A few days ago, a piece of news on my mobile phone captured my attention, which read that a foreign enterprise tried to stigmatize Xinjiang’s cotton in the name of “forced labor” and claimed that they would not source cotton from Xinjiang. As a farmer cotton grower, I have to express my strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition.

My name is Hekemu Turupu. I’m 63 years old from Pishan County, Hotan Prefecture. My family grows 150 mu of cotton. Previously, we mainly planted wheat and corn, but the profits made from growing wheat and corn are not promising. Later, I heard from a friend that the land and climate in my hometown were suitable for planting cotton. And the income was higher compared to grow wheat and corn. In 2013, in order to increase income and improve living conditions, I voluntarily signed up to participate in the cotton planting technology training organized by the county’s agricultural technology promotion bureau, which was carries out in the countryside. There I acquired the cotton planting technology and began to plant cotton with scientific methods.

We bought machines to plant cotton and the output were improved greatly. However, not all the work can be done by machines or by our family members in the short harvest season. We asked the villagers from neighboring towns for help. They came to pick up cotton and got paid according to the agreed price on each kilo of cotton. In recent years, as we gained profits from growing cotton and managing cotton fields, the villagers take the initiative to contact me, in hope of cooperating with us. Our life has been substantially improved through our hard work. We have deposits in the bank, newly-built house as well as home appliances and furniture. And I’m certain that our life will be even better in the future.

Regarding the so-called “forced labor” in cotton planting claimed by some overseas enterprises, I’m wondering have you ever come to our Xinjiang before? Do you have any idea about the production method in Xinjiang? Your accusation is absolute nonsense. We improved our lives on our own land through growing and picking up cotton. Why do we need to be forced to do that? If we don’t make money by ourselves, will you give us money ? I would like to say to all those fabricating lies: stop your nonsense now and mind your own business!