China: Traffic light politicians call on VW to withdraw from Xinjiang

China: Traffic light politicians call on VW to withdraw from Xinjiang

Several traffic light politicians have appealed to Volkswagen to follow the example of the chemical company BASF and withdraw from the Chinese Uyghur province Xinjiang to withdraw. “Xinjiang must become a ‘no-go’ as a location for economic activities for Western companies, including VW,” said the chairwoman of the Human Rights Committee in the Bundestag, Renata Alt (FDP). Daily Mirror.

The recently announced withdrawal of BASF from the northwest Chinese province welcomed Alt as a clear signal. “No lazy compromises can be made when it comes to human rights,” she said. For years, the Chinese government has put pressure on Western companies “to establish themselves in Xinjiang, thereby using them to make China’s inhumane policy of repression of Uyghurs acceptable.”

“Complicity with the forced labor regime”

Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer said VW has long stood out “negatively when it comes to whitewashing the dire conditions in Xinjiang and looking for cheap excuses.” The pressure on the car manufacturer will increase again after BASF’s decision. “VW has to leave Xinjiang!” Bütikofer told the Daily Mirror. “There is an ethical red line to corporate business conduct; complicity with the forced labor regime in Xinjiang lies beyond it.”

Bütikofer called BASF’s announced withdrawal overdue. “No German company should legitimize the brutal regime of human rights crimes against the Uyghurs and other minorities through its presence there,” he said.

The Federal Government Commissioner for Freedom of Religion and Belief, Frank Schwabe (SPD), called on all German companies not to do any further business in Xinjiang. “Basically, the human rights situation in Xinjiang is so catastrophic and confusing that German companies should not operate there. This also applies to VW,” Schwabe told the Daily Mirror.

Oppression of Muslim minorities

BASF had according to reports about Human rights violations in its operations in China’s Xinjiang region last week announced an accelerated sale of its shares in two joint venture companies there.

Experts accuse the Chinese authorities of repressing the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. In the past, Chinese partner companies of German companies in the region had already been confronted with allegations of being involved in forced labor. The Chinese central government in Beijing rejects the allegations and claims that its actions in Xinjiang serve to combat extremism and improve the development of the region.

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