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EXCLUSIVE: Was Your Fridge Made With Forced Chinese Labour? Questions Over ChiQ Changhong Appliances Sold In Australia

Chinese appliance brand Changhong, which also trades as ChiQ in Australia, has found itself caught up in claims its Chinese manufacturing operations have violated human rights of ethnic minorities.

Changhong Hefei Meiling is a subsidiary of Changhong, which manufactures ChiQ appliances that are widely sold in Australia. The entity was formerly known as the Hefei Meiling Company and was last year placed on the US Government banned list. (See Here).

According to the company’s website, the main products manufactured by the business include refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, washing machines, small appliances, and kitchen appliances as well as other household appliances.

In Australia ChiQ products are sold by Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, The Good Guys and Betta Electrical.

NARTA CEO Michael Jackson said that his buying group is prepared to act against any supplier “engaged in labour exploitation”.

ChannelNews is still waiting for other retailers to respond.

The ranging of ChiQ goods is extensive in Australia and the company is also a sponsor of the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix.

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) added Hefei Meiling to the entity List along with 11 other Chinese companies which they claim are implicated in human rights violations and abuses in China.

The USA Federal Government claims that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour, involuntary collection of biometric data, and genetic analyses targeted Muslim minority groups from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

Changhong Meiling claims that it is one of the important electrical appliance manufacturers in China.

The company has four domestic manufacturing bases in Hefei, Mianyang, Jingdezhen and Zhongshan, and overseas manufacturing bases as well as in Indonesian where they manufacture air conditioners and in Pakistani where they manufacture refrigerators, covering ice, washing, air conditioning, kitchen, and bathroom,

The US action has resulted in companies such as Hefei Meiling facing new restrictions on access to U.S.origin items, including commodities and technology.

“Beijing actively promotes the reprehensible practice of forced labour and abusive DNA collection and analysis schemes to repress its citizens,” told US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This action will ensure that our goods and technologies are not used in the Chinese Communist Party’s despicable offensive against defenceless Muslim minority populations.”

While the Australian Federal Government has not acted against any company in Australia for manufacturing exploitation Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a 5 Eyes partner with Australia has.

The Canadian initiative came months after Canada amended its Customs Tariff to prohibit the importation of goods made with forced labour, which was implemented last mid last year in Canada.

Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa the government is concerned about the situation in Xinjiang and pointed to the new measures as part of a push to counter the human rights abuses.

“We are working with Canadian companies, all Canadian companies, to ensure that they are not benefitting from or profiting from these human rights abuses,” Trudeau said.

On one of their web sites the Company claims that CHANGHONG MEILING CO.,LTD, formerly Hefei Meiling Co., Ltd., is a China-based company principally engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sales of household appliances.

The Company’s main products include refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, washing machines, small appliances, and kitchen appliances they are also involved in the biomedical business.

Recently the Uyghur advocacy group have renewed calls for the international community to act after the BBC published horrifying new accounts of rape and torture in China’s network of internment camps in Xinjiang.

The broadcaster also said it spoke to a former guard who confirmed he had seen prisoners subjected to beatings, as well as being tortured with electric shocks.

Many of the accounts were extremely graphic.

We have asked Changhong management to respond but at this stage they have not responded to our calls.

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