German politicians appeal to Volkswagen. “VW must leave Xinjiang!”

Luc Williams

“VW must leave Xinjiang!”

Politicians of the German ruling coalition appeal to Volkswagen to follow the example of the chemical concern BASF and withdraw from China’s Uyghur province of Xinjiang due to human rights violations. – Xinjiang must become a place inaccessible to the economic activities of Western companies, including VW – she told the “Tagesspiegel” newspaper ” Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the Bundestag, Renata Alt (FDP). For years, the Chinese government has pressured Western companies to invest in Xinjiang, thereby using it to de facto accept China’s policy of repression against the Uyghurs.

MEP from the Green Party Reinhard Bütikofer noted that Volkswagen has long stood out “negatively when it comes to whitewashing the tragic humanitarian conditions in Xinjiang and looking for cheap excuses.” After BASF’s decision, the pressure on the car manufacturer will increase again. – VW must leave Xinjiang! There is an ethical red line for corporate conduct in business; complicity in the forced labor regime in Xinjiang lies beyond it, Bütikofer emphasized.

Bütikofer further stated that BASF’s announced withdrawal of operations from the Chinese province is overdue. “No German company should, through its presence, legitimize a brutal regime committing human rights crimes against Uyghurs and other minorities,” he added.

Federal Government Commissioner for Freedom of Religion and Belief Frank Schwabe (SPD) has called on all German companies to no longer conduct any business in Xinjiang. – The human rights situation in Xinjiang is so disastrous and confusing that German companies should not do business there. This also applies to Volkswagen, Schwabe said.

The company has repeatedly denied…

Volkswagen (together with its Chinese partner SAIC) has a plant in the city of Ürümqi in Xinjiang. The company has repeatedly denied that human rights are being violated there. Last year, the company presented a report by auditor Markus Löning which concluded that there was “no evidence of forced labor among Volkswagen factory workers.”

– Of course, we take critical reports about the situation in the region very seriously (…) – a Volkswagen spokesman told the Die Zeit newspaper. He assured that the company does not tolerate forced labor or other forms of discrimination in any of its business activities.

– To date, the group has no evidence of human rights violations at joint venture locations in China. If there are new findings on this issue, we will take appropriate actions in accordance with internal policies and procedures (…) – said a VW spokesman.

Experts blame the Chinese authorities

Last week, BASF announced the accelerated sale of its stake in two joint ventures in the country following reports of human rights abuses in its operations (in China’s Xinjiang region).

Experts accuse the Chinese authorities of repression against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. In the past, Chinese partner companies of companies from Germany (in the mentioned region) have already faced allegations of involvement in forced labor.

The Chinese government in Beijing denies the allegations and claims that its actions in Xinjiang are aimed at fighting extremism and improving the development of the region.


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