In response to the chemical company’s decision to pull out of China’s Xinjiang region, German politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP called on Volkswagen to follow suit. Renata Alt, chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Human Rights Committee, emphasized that it is important not to make lazy compromises when it comes to human rights.
BASF Group announced that it will sell a stake in two joint ventures in Korla, China, in the center of the Xinjiang region, amid reports of possible human rights abuses. This decision was welcomed by German politicians who have been calling for companies to stop operating in Xinjiang due to the catastrophic and confusing human rights situation in the region.
Volkswagen (VW), on the other hand, operates a factory in Xinjiang in a joint venture with Chinese manufacturer Saic. The company has come under scrutiny for its decision to continue operating in Xinjiang despite investigations into working conditions at the factory. Despite this, VW insists that it takes its responsibility as a company in the field of human rights very seriously around the world, including in China and closely adheres to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Reports from Uighurs, other minorities and human rights organizations have revealed that hundreds of thousands of people in Xinjiang have been forced into re-education camps, tortured and subjected to forced labour. Meanwhile, the Chinese government denies these allegations.