Xinjiang Forced Labour
In the first story of the briefing today, we discuss the forced labour used in the Xinjiang region of China to pick cotton. Xinjiang has been in the news over the last few months due to its treatment of the Uighur people. Among the claims are that they are forced into camps to be ‘re-educated’, specifically about the Chinese regime.
Today, though, the Chinese government has been accused of using more than half a million Uighurs to produce cotton. This work is defined as forced labour. Xinjiang produced more than 20% of the world’s cotton and more than 80% of China’s cotton. Adrian Zenz, an expert researcher in Xinjiang, has claimed that he thinks that it is likely that “coercive labour transfer programs” were used in order to get Uighur workers to produce the cotton.
The Chinese government claims that this program is simply part of it’s campaign to alleviate poverty. However, others claim that the coercive nature of the scheme makes it something much worse. This isn’t helped by the fact that it targets ethnic minorities such as the Uighur population.
Whether the international community takes action is yet to be seen.
A Romantic Rule Break
In the second story in the Daily Briefing today, we talk about a man who has broken coronavirus restrictions in order to see his girlfriend. While relationships have been tricky in 2020 – one group that have often been overlooked in terms of coronavirus restrictions are couples who live apart. In England in particular, the government only allowed couples to see each other without social distancing temporarily when the tiering system was first introduced. The guidance was unclear though, and prompted us to write an article trying to clear it up. Even now, people are confused about what the rules are in England.
Other nations of the UK have been more relaxed in their guidance. So, whether you get to see your partner in the UK heavily depends on where you are. If you’re in Scotland and your partner is, say, in the Isle of Man then it may be a little while until you can legally see your partner. This is because despite Scotland previously having a more relaxed approach to relationships in lockdown, the Isle of Man has closed its borders fully to non residents.
Well, for one Scottish man, this was a reality. Instead of sitting and simply obeying the rules though, he decided to take extreme measures to go see his girlfriend. He acquired a jet-ski and took the, what he thought was, 45 minute journey from Scotland to the island. This turned out to be significantly longer. It took him about 4 and a half hours. He additionally admitted that this was his first time on a jet ski.
His defence lawyer claimed that he was suffering from depression and that he was struggling to cope not seeing his girlfriend. Despite this, he was sentenced to four weeks in jail for arriving unlawfully on the island.
Clearly, the romantic intent was not enough to stop him being punished for his actions.
An MPs Christmas Wish
In the final story of the briefing today, we discuss politics. Well, sort of. Since the pandemic began, MPs have been intent on using short soundbites to try and get their message across. Some of these have been quite straightforward in order to get key information across, such as “hands, face, space” or “stay home, protect the NHS, save lives”. Others have been a bit more… questionable. One such soundbite was the Prime Minister’s insistence that “tis the season to be jolly, but also to be jolly careful”.
Well, yesterday, we were given another soundbite that should definitely be filed under ‘questionable’. This happened following the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, announced to the House of Commons that London is going to be moving up into the highest tier (Tier 3) on Wednesday of this week.
This led to some MPs asking when their local areas would be moving down to Tier 2. The Conservative MP for Recar, Jacob Young came up with an interesting way of asking this question. Specifically, he made the statement that Matt Hancock could “make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas is Tier 2”.
Replying to this, Mr. Hancock said: “we’ll be looking at this very very closely come Wednesday and see what’s in Santa’s bag”.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide what you make of this exchange.
One last thing before we go. We’re super low on stock for our book Brexit the Colouring book. We had to restock last week, but we’re now pretty much out again. So this really is your last chance to grab one and have it delivered by Christmas (to certain countries). Anyway, the link to the store’s down below.
Anyway, for those of you who think the news is too long, be sure to check out tomorrow’s Daily Briefing.