Jul 28, 2020 - World

John Oliver blasts China's campaign of forced Uighur labor

john oliver screenshot
Photo: "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

In the latest segment of his HBO show "Last Week Tonight,"comedian John Oliver took aim at the Chinese Communist Party's campaigns of mass internment and forced assimilation of Uighurs.

The state of play: Oliver highlights the recent New York Times investigation that revealed that many medical masks exported from China during the coronavirus pandemic come from supply chains tainted by forced Uighur labor.

  • He compares the "pre-crime" platform IJOP — used in Xinjiang to detain people based on an algorithmic calculation of their potential to commit a crime — to the plot of the 2002 Tom Cruise film "Minority Report."

This isn't the first time that Oliver has dedicated a whole segment to China.

  • In 2018, Oliver made fun of Chinese President Xi Jinping's fear of being compared to Winnie the Pooh.
  • Chinese authorities promptly blocked HBO's website in China after the show aired.

In this latest show on the unfolding cultural genocide in Xinjiang, Oliver also said that the U.S.' deeply imperfect record was no reason to avoid calling out China for its abuses in Xinjiang.

  • "It's also completely possible for two things to be wrong at the same time," he said. "Human rights should be completely non-negotiable."
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