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Germany Calls for Economic Boycott of Xinjiang over Human Rights Violations

ByEditor

Feb 13, 2024
German politicians urge Volkswagen to exit Xinjiang

The recent decision of a German chemical company to withdraw from the Chinese region of Xinjiang has sparked calls from German politicians to boycott the area for economic activities, including Volkswagen. Renata Alt, Chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Human Rights Committee, stated that “Xinjiang must become a ‘no-go’ as a location for economic activities for Western companies, including VW.” She emphasized the importance of not making lazy compromises when it comes to human rights.

The BASF Group announced that it would be selling shares in two joint ventures in Korla, China, in the center of the Xinjiang region, due to reports of possible human rights violations. This move was welcomed by German politicians who see it as a step towards holding companies accountable for their actions in China.

Volkswagen operates a plant in Xinjiang in a joint venture with the Chinese manufacturer Saic and has come under scrutiny for its decision to continue operating there. Despite issuing a commission to examine the working conditions at the plant in Xinjiang, VW insists that it takes its responsibility as a company in the area of human rights very seriously worldwide, including in China. However, reports from Uighurs, members of other minorities, and human rights organizations have revealed that hundreds of thousands of people have been forced into re-education camps and subjected to forced labor. Meanwhile, the Chinese government denies these allegations.

Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer stated that he will increase pressure on VW after BASF divested itself from shares in joint ventures in Xinjiang. He emphasized that there is an ethical red line for the business ability of companies and asserted that “complicity with the forced labor regime” lies behind it. Frank Schwabe also demanded that all German companies immediately halt any further business operations in Xinjiang and asserted that the human rights situation there is catastrophic and confusing.

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