Additional 3

Strengthening the international response to alleged Xinjiang forced labour

Funder: UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office
Duration: September 2021-March 2022
Project Lead:
 James Cockayne
Programme: Law and Policy

About the project

Multiple independent reports suggest that as many as one million people from Uyghur, Kazakh and other ethnic minorities have been arbitrarily detained in China’s Xinjiang province in the last five years. Many of these people are allegedly forced to work – both in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China – on worksites supplying goods to global markets, notably in the cotton, tomato and solar panel supply-chains.

In response, countries have begun adopting import bans, targeted sanctions and other economic coercive measures – binding instruments intended to cause the target some harm or economic loss with the purpose of inducing a change in policy or practices. The Chinese government has adopted its own counter-measures, sanctioning actors in more than a dozen countries, and adopting new regulatory frameworks to discourage cooperation with foreign measures targeting alleged forced labour in Xinjiang.

Our project, housed at, provides ongoing analysis of these measures and their impacts. The project collates and publishes data on these measures, and analysis covering:

  • insights from sanctions theory regarding the actual and potential impact of these measures;
  • understanding where Xinjiang production fits in global trade in cotton, tomatoes and solar energy and the likely market dynamics of these measures;
  • Chinese counter-measures and their impacts;
  • recommendations for strengthening the preventive impact of responses 

Further information 

For more information please visit

World-class research at the University of Nottingham

University Park
+44 (0) 115 951 5151
Athena Swan Logo