RFA: Chinese Official Confirms Existence of Forced Labor in Xinjiang

November 29, 2004

Radio Free Asia reports that an agricultural official in the Xinjiang regional government confirmed the existence of a system of forced labor called "hasha" in remote areas of the countryside, in which laborers are not paid for their work. The report quoted the official as saying: "In the other provinces in China where there has been rapid economic development, hasha was phased out long ago . . . [b]ut here in Xinjiang, we still need it."

One Uighur man described his experience with hasha to RFA as follows: "For one month out of every year for three years we were forced to open up land that had never been settled before—it was just wilderness. We were also forced to build houses for Han Chinese immigrants who were resettling in the area."