Home > Latest News > Exclusive CHIQ & LG Appliances Tainted By New Slave Labor Claims OS Retailers Respond

Exclusive CHIQ & LG Appliances Tainted By New Slave Labor Claims OS Retailers Respond

Chinese brand ChiQ and South Korean brand LG Electronics have been accused of questionable manufacturing processes involving allegations of ‘slave labour’ in China, LG has recently held a major review according to a document obtained by ChannelNews while ChiQ owner is again on a new US Homeland Security banned list.

Research shows that ChiQ fridges, freezers are being widely sold in Australia, despite the Company that manufactures them appearing on a new June 2024 blacklist of Companies the USA has banned, because of the alleged use of slave labour with questions now being asked as to why Australian Unions and the current Labor Government are not following Canada’s lead, and blocking products from entering the supply chain that the US Government claims are manufactured using questionable labour processes.

Also accused of using slave labour is South Korean Company is LG Display, as well as Fila, BMW Samsung and Sony.

Retailers in Canada and the USA have stopped selling the questionable range of appliances, but that has not stopped Australian retailers such as Harvey Norman, Betta Electrical, Bing Lee and The Good Guys offering deals on the ChiQ range of goods that include TVs.

LG Electronics Canada has issued a response after Canadian Media and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights linked the Company with questionable manufacturing processes.

A visit to the US Homeland Security Site reveals that ChiQ’ s parent Company Hefei Meiling Co Ltd the Company that owns the popular appliance brand and describes their products as based on ‘human-centred design, are allegedly involved in using Uygur forced labour in China.

The US government has characterised the use of cheap Uygur labour as an ongoing genocide of minorities which is taking place China’s western Xinjiang region where the ChiQ appliances and components for LG Electronics appliances are manufactured. are manufactured.

The ChiQ appliance manufacturer is owned by the Vanguard Emerging Markets Equity (VEIEX) fund.

The business was initially put on the Entity List in July 2020 as Hefei Meiling Co they quickly changed the name to Changhong Meiling Co in an effort to minimise the risk associated with their name being on a banned goods and Company list.

The company’s mainland China A-share securities abbreviation was changed from “Meiling Electric” to “Changhong Meiling”, and the company’s B-share securities abbreviation was changed. Changed from “Wanmeiling B” to “Hongmeiling B”

Recently the company was added to a new US Government banned entity list.

In Canada the GFLC organisation, found substantial evidence that Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjian Uyghur Autonomous Region were being detained in re-education camps and subjected to state-imposed forced labour in factories, among other human rights violations.

In response to their revelations, the Canadian federal government took steps to block goods made with forced labour in Xinjiang from entering the supply chains of Canadian companies.

In July 2020, the government amended the Canada Customs Tariff to prohibit the importation of goods produced wholly or in part by forced labour.

Since then, Canadian companies doing business with Xinjiang entities must now sign an Integrity Declaration, and the government has released an advisory on the risks of doing business with Xinjiang-related entities with guidance for due diligence best practices.

Despite these efforts, a recent investigation of international shipping records conducted by the Toronto Star and the Guelph Mercury Tribune found that goods originating from Chinese manufacturers on the United States’ list of companies and subject to sanctions due to their links to the use of forced labour in Xinjiang were still getting into the Country.

Most of the shipments contained household appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers.

A check by ChannelNews reveals that the likes of Best Buy, Home Depot, The Brick, and Costco in Canada and the USA are no longer selling product manufactured by Changhong Meiling, Hefei Meiling Co or the ChiQ brand.

An Australian Strategic Policy investigation claims that the Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country.

They are working in conditions that strongly suggest forced labour and that Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of well-known global brands including LG Electronics and LG Display.

LG Electronics were sprung after a letter to the South Korean government was leaked by concerned Government insiders, from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights the letter claimed that appliance companies such as LG Electronics, LG Display, are involved in human rights violations through various supply chains in China and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

UNHCHR separately reached out to the companies in March for their responses to the allegations.

“We express our grave concern that the rights of minority workers from the Xianjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, especially Uyghur, who are not upheld in line with international human rights and labour rights standards,” the letter said.

“We are concerned that these workers who are allegedly forcefully relocated across the country are subjected to forced labour.”

Following the claims LG Electronics Canada, last year produced an extensive document to try and defend the allegations.

They claimed that ‘LGECI itself does not manufacture any products and relies on other entities (including members of the LG corporate group) to supply LG products to LGECI.

They admitted that LG’s global supply chain is highly complex, comprised of thousands of suppliers worldwide.

Our supply chain includes the sourcing of raw materials, the design, engineering, and manufacturing of our products. LG’s upstream supply chain includes the extraction of minerals to the assembling and manufacturing of its products and parts, to the transportation of those items to Canada.

LG is reliant on a network of first-tier suppliers for the sourcing of materials and components and collaborates with its suppliers across the globe, to manage ESG risk associated with human rights violations, labour issues, exclusion of underprivileged people, unfair and unethical activities in its global supply chain.

LG did not deny in their extensive review document, that questionable manufacturers have been used to manufacture their products in the past, they claim that have now put in place an extensive program to police manufacturers.

LG Electronics has moved to put in place new policies and procedures and are now monitoring questionable manufacturers, including what they describe as ‘non-conformity issues
that were highlighted by their audits.