As China continues to expand its influence in the world, it is also expanding its reliance on forced labor.
In a new book, a series of exposés from China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reveals how the country uses foreign labor to build roads, mines and factories.
These factories are then used to manufacture the products that are used in Chinese cities, according to the authors, who spoke with The Associated Press by telephone from Hong Kong.
In one example, the authors say, China forced foreign workers to work in a cement factory where the temperature was routinely above 40 degrees Celsius.
“This is the coldest factory I’ve ever seen,” said the worker, who did not want to be identified.
He also told the AP he was forced to wear a mask, walk through narrow halls and work at night in freezing temperatures.
Chinese officials have not denied the existence of forced labor and have said they will crack down on labor abuses, but they say they are not using it as a weapon against foreign workers.
“We will not use forced labor to punish our neighbors,” said Zhao Jianhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, a government agency responsible for overseeing China’s economy.
China is the world’s second-largest economy, and it has been growing at a rate of more than 7 percent per year since the mid-1990s.
The AP found the number of foreign workers in China reached 1.1 million in 2014, a record for the country.
China has the world averse to immigration, so workers in the country can’t work in the U.S. or elsewhere without permission from China.
However, they do often work for Chinese companies.
The Associated State Department has said China is trying to crack down.
“The government is committed to protecting human rights and is working hard to protect foreign workers, and to improve labor rights, including through a comprehensive anti-trafficking law, to reduce the burden on foreign workers and the economic impact of forced recruitment,” said an email from spokeswoman Sarah Isaksson.
“China continues to work with other countries to crack Down on the demand for labor and to crackdowns on forced recruitment and labor trafficking,” Isakssin wrote in an emailed statement.
The work in China is mostly done by migrant workers from poor countries, according a 2016 report from the U