Cork County Council has responded to a recent Gript story ,which showed that the Council was linked to a Chinese province which has been using forced labour sourced from “re-education” camps, with a statement saying that they are “aware of differences in values between Ireland and China.”

We had reported that that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been sending workers drawn from “re-education” camps, into which the CCP have forced over one million members of ethnic minorities, into factories in Jiangsu province. Cork County Council signed a formal ‘Friendship Agreement’ with Jiangsu province in 2017.

Workers who refuse to go to these factories are labelled uncooperative and scheduled for additional ideological indoctrination sessions. The CCP has threatened some uncooperative workers with arbitrary imprisonment and detention, and other workers have reported that their families would be unsafe if they became “uncooperative.”

Experts have said that the situation in Xinjiang, the province in which most of these “re-education” camps are located, meets the definition of cultural genocide.

Cork County Council response, upon being asked to comment on those facts, was to tell Gript that they were “satisfied that the issues in question are addressed by the Irish Government in its contact with Chinese authorities”, and that the Councils plan to continue to “work towards our goals in China.” Those goals include addressing “people-to-people priorities.”

You can read their full response below:

Cork County Council’s Friendship Agreement with the Jiangsu Provincial Government seeks to promote economic development, tourism, education, science, technology, health, sport and cultural links between Ireland and China.

Cork County Council is aware of differences in values between Ireland and China, and is satisfied that the issues in question are addressed by the Irish Government in its contact with Chinese authorities, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora. We will continue to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure that relations between Ireland and China at national and local authority levels continue to work towards our goals in China, which address economic, political and people-to-people priorities.