Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

The Wall Street Journal points out that on New Year’s Eve, Tesla revealed on its Weibo page the launch of a new dealership in Xinjiang, a region where the Chinese government has been accused of human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.

Image: Weibo/Tesla

Just over a week ago, President Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that “[we]Calls on the government of the People’s Republic of China to immediately end genocide and crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.”

Earlier in December, the Treasury Department sanctioned several Chinese companies for allegedly participating in the abuses, including drone maker DJI, which blocked US investment in the company, and the Biden administration announced plans for a “diplomatic boycott” during the Winter Olympics. in Beijing.

Now Tesla has a showroom in Urumqi, the capital of the region. The automaker has had an uneven relationship with the Chinese government for years, including when it struck a deal to open a factory in Shanghai and early 2021, when production from that factory pushed Tesla to its first annual profit.

as the Wall Street Journal notes that US genocide charges are based on reports that the Chinese government has imprisoned and subjected more than 1 million Uyghur people and other minorities in the region to forced labour, surveillance and population control. The Chinese government insists its “facts and truth on Xinjiang-related issues” refute the allegations, claiming it has imposed measures such as real-time GPS vehicle tracking to fight terrorism.

Other US companies have been linked to the region, including reports that Apple suppliers had used forced labor, while Best Buy and Home Depot removed the security cameras they sold after the brands were linked to surveillance. Most recently, Intel made a statement that it would not use any labor or goods from the region before deleting the post and apologizing on Chinese social media sites, saying: “The Xinjiang section in the letter is only intended to original intent of compliance and legality, not for its intent or position.”

Tesla dissolved its PR department in 2019 and has yet to comment on the new location.

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