Mon. Jan 24th, 2022

The Council on American-Islamic Relations accuses the carmaker of ‘supporting genocide’.

Tesla’s announcement that it’s opening a showroom in Xinjiang has provoked criticism from US law and trade groups, making it the latest foreign firm caught up in tensions related to the far-western Chinese region.

Xinjiang has become a significant point of conflict between Western governments and China in recent years, as United Nations experts and legal groups estimate more than a million people, mainly Uighurs and members of other Muslim minorities, were detained in camps there.

China has rejected allegations of forced labor or any other abuse there, saying the camps provide vocational training and that companies should respect its policies there. The American manufacturer of electric cars last Friday announced the opening of the showroom in Xinjiang’s regional capital, Urumqi, on its official Weibo account. “On the last day of 2021, we will meet in Xinjiang,” it said in the post.

On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest American Muslim advocacy organization, criticized the move, saying Tesla “supports genocide.”

The US described China’s treatment of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang as genocide. The US and several other countries are planning a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February on the issue.

“Elon Musk should close Tesla’s Xinjiang showroom,” the US-Islamic Council said on its official Twitter account, referring to Tesla’s founder.

Similar criticism came from a U.S. trade group, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.


Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The carmaker operates a factory in Shanghai and is increasing production there amid rising sales in China.

A number of foreign firms have been fueled by tensions between the West and China over Xinjiang in recent months as they try to balance Western pressure with China’s importance as a market and supply base.

In July, Swedish fashion retailer H&M reported a 23 percent drop in local currency sales in China for its March-May quarter after falling through a consumer boycott in March because he publicly said it did not obtain products from Xinjiang.

Last month, US chipmaker Intel faced similar calls after telling its suppliers not to obtain products or labor from Xinjiang, asking it to apologize for “the trouble facing our respected Chinese customers, partners” and the public was caused “.

Although some have tried to reduce their exposure to the supply chain to the region, especially as Washington bans imports such as Xinjiang cotton or blacklists Chinese companies that they believe helped Beijing’s policies there, many foreign brands operate stores there.

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