World Volkswagen, close your factory in Xinjiang and protect Uyghur human rights
China Says U.S. 'Ulterior Motive' in Xinjiang Genocide Claim is Inciting Unrest
Beijing's ambassador in Washington Cui Tiankai accused the U.S. and other countries claiming genocide in Xinjiang of trying "to bring about a collapse and split-up of China from the inside."Asked by Newsweek if Chinese authorities had identified a U.S. effort to incite unrest in Xinjiang during a virtual event hosted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday, the Chinese Communist Party chief for the region's capital said that "the ulterior motive is known to all.
In April, Jewish World Watch, the American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility, and 17 other human rights organizations took part in the Uyghur Week of Action and the affiliated Global Day of Business Engagement to push our message that Volkswagen must close its factory located in Xinjiang, China, and stop using Uyghur forced labor once and for all. Founded by the Nazi Party in 1937, Volkswagen is once again using forced labor to make a profit and curry political favors. It is a situation that has yet to prove as uncomfortable as it should for the car company.
American consumers can help shake those who provide aid and comfort to the Chinese Communist Party in its genocidal campaign against the Uyghurs. Consumers can and should demand products, goods, and services that are not providing aid and comfort to those complicit in genocide.
A path for business out of the China forced labor dilemma
With few ways of responding to charges of complicity in human rights abuses, firms could rely on the International Labor Organization.The stakes could not be higher for firms doing business in China or relying on Chinese exports. In January, the U.S. banned Xinjiang-grown cotton (20 percent of the global supply) and tomatoes. Beyond garment manufacturers, Kraft Heinz and Campbell Soup were impacted. Coca-Cola is worried that it might be next (Xinjiang sugar), while climate-change campaigners should be concerned that half the world's supply of polysilicon (essential to solar panels) comes from Xinjiang.
Instead of making amends for its past record of human rights abuses, Volkswagen’s leadership is repeating the past and doing so in a spectacular fashion. In a, The People v. The People’s Car, the American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility provides context as to why Volkswagen’s Xinjiang plant is not a fluke.
In the United States, Volkswagen is perhaps most noted in recent years for the malfeasance around the “defeat device” the manufacturer placed in diesel cars that tricked emissions tests into showing the cars polluting far less than they were in reality. The result was a recall of a half-million diesel vehicles in the U.S. as part of a $14.7 million settlement.
There are darker episodes in Volkswagen’s past that mirror the company’s role in Xinjiang today. In Brazil, the firm was complicit in providing aid and comfort to the country’s military dictatorship lasting from 1964-1985. Volkswagen was forced to pay out more than $6 million in compensation and donations last year after a dozen union activists, termed “subversives” by the dictatorship that also happened to be on the company payroll, were identified and handed over to the military government for beatings and torture by the company.
West and rights groups accuse China of massive Uyghur crimes
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Human rights groups and Western nations led by the United States, Britain and Germany accused China of massive crimes against the Uyghur minority and demanded unimpeded access for U.N. experts at a virtual meeting on Wednesday denounced by China as “politically motivated” and based on “lies.” China’s U.N. Mission sent notes to many of the U.N.’s 193 member nations last week urging them not to participate in the “anti-China event.” And China’s U.N. Ambassador Zhang Jun sent text messages to the 15 Western co-sponsors of the meeting expressing shock at their support, urging them to “think twice” and withdraw it.
Volkswagen’s Urumqi plant is not profitable; that is not the point. However, for the Chinese Communist Party, the plant is significant. It is a showpiece of the Potemkin facade the Chinese state authorities have sought to erect to display all the non-genocide-related activities the one-party state is involved in within Xinjiang.
Perhaps more remarkably, the Chinese Communist Party believes a car plant operating at less than half capacity, “employing” 600 forced laborers, and churning out 20,000 cars annually can distract people from the genocide taking place. Why would Volkswagen want to be complicit in such crimes that hearken back to the darkest abscess of the automaker’s past?
For Jewish World Watch, the horror stories coming out of the region are eerily familiar to Jews' own experiences in pre-World War II Europe. Volkswagen’s current contractual obligation complies with China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law. This contract requires Volkswagen to "support, assist and cooperate with state intelligence work," whose agencies facilitate the arrest, interrogation, and internment of Uyghurs in concentration camps through the routine use of advanced digital and biometric, including facial, voice, and DNA recognition. These terms echo its history under another totalitarian regime.
Uyghur imams targeted in China's Xinjiang crackdown
China has targeted Muslim religious leaders, according to a new report, charging many with extremism.The research, compiled by the Uyghur Human Rights Project and shared with the BBC, also found evidence that 18 clerics had died in detention or shortly after.
Unlike other major brands that have sought to distance themselves from the conditions of forced labor and ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang, Volkswagen has not.
Executives at Volkswagen may be more familiar with China's policy in Xinjiang by the nomenclature preferred by the Chinese Communist Party, namely “Xinjiang Aid.” It is a fancy term for a broad assault on the human rights of a targeted people, the Uyghurs, who are incarcerated en masse, targeted for “re-education,” placed under a surveillance state system that dehumanizes, brutalizes, and assaults the dignity of Uyghurs caught in its dragnet. It is also the Chinese Communist Party’s system of “industrial aid.”
In other words, for a company to do business in Xinjiang, it has an understanding with the Chinese Communist Party that in exchange for complicity and silence regarding the most egregious crimes happening within China’s borders, the opportunity for business is wide open. For Volkswagen, China’s mass reeducation centers for Uyghur hostages are just the price of doing business.
On Eid, Xinjiang imams defend China against US criticism
BEIJING (AP) — Muslim leaders from the Xinjiang region rejected Western allegations that China is suppressing religious freedom, speaking at a reception Thursday for foreign diplomats and media at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The event was the latest in a series of moves by the Chinese government to counter accusations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It came a day after human rights groups and Western nations demanded unfettered access for U.N. human rights experts to the region and U.S.
It is a price that consumers should be unwilling to pay because it is the price of human dignity. Join our call to action. Hold Volkswagen accountable, and demand that the companies you buy from adhere to universal values such as human rights, labor rights, fair treatment of suppliers, and equal pay for equal work. Volkswagen can no longer remain complicit in the genocide against the Uyghurs taking place in western China.
Serena Oberstein is the executive director of the. Meto Koloski serves on the advisory board of the American Alliance for Automotive Corporate Social Responsibility.
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Original Author: Serena Oberstein & Meto Koloski
US cracks down on goods potentially sent from alleged Uighur internment camps .
In China, 85% of cotton comes from the Xinjiang region, CBP says. Up to 3 million Turkic Muslims -- both Uighur and Kazakh -- are, or have been, detained in facilities the Chinese government calls "vocational centers," according to the U.S. State Department. Human rights activists allege that the Chinese government forces the ethnic minorities to work on farms and in textile factories nearby. The country has denied allegations of slave labor or that these are forced internment camps.