Daily Mail donated masks linked to 'Uighur labour firm'
Masks donated by the UK's The Daily Mail newspaper to country's National Health Service (NHS) were sourced from a firm suspected of using forced labour from China's persecuted Uighur Muslim minority.
The shipment of 100,000 masks was delivered from China to the UK after the newspaper launched its "Mail Force" campaign, aimed at assisting the country meet its personal protective equipment (PPE) demands for medical staff.
The masks were purchased from Medwell Medical Products, a company suspected of using forced Uighur Muslim labour.
The Mail Force charity says it was unaware of the allegations about Medwell at the time.
"The masks in question represent 0.2 percent of the 42 million items of PPE we delivered to the UK. We are implacably opposed to forced labour of any kind," a spokesman for Mail Force was quoted by the BBC as saying.
The charity said more than 60 percent of the PPE it has supplied was manufactured in the UK.
A report by The New York Times in July identified Medwell's factory in Fenglin, Jiangxi province, as being one that used forced Uighur labour.
The NYT report estimated that Uighurs make up 25 percent of the workforce at the factory in Fenglin.
Beijing is under intense international criticism over its policies in Xinjiang province, where rights groups say as many as one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are being held in internment camps.
The United States on Thursday moved to block imports of cotton it says are harvested with "slave labour" in China's Xinjiang region, authorities have announced.
China has long denied persecuting its Uighur Muslim minority, claiming that its 're-education' camps provide training programmes, work schemes and better education to help stamp out extremism.
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