BEIJING (AP) – Activists are calling on Tesla Inc. to shut down a new showroom in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, where officials are accused of abuses against predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities.
The calls add to the pressure on foreign companies to take a stand on Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan and other politically charged issues. The ruling Communist Party is pressuring companies to adopt its positions in their advertisements and on websites. He attacked clothes and other brands that express concern over reports of forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang.
Tesla announced on Friday the opening of its showroom in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, and declared on its Chinese social network account: “Let’s start the all-electric journey of Xinjiang!
The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Monday called on Tesla and its chairman, Elon Musk, to close the showroom and “cease what amounts to economic support for the genocide.”
“No US company should do business in an area which is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority,” the group’s communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement.
The Communist Party has pressured hotels, airlines and other foreign companies to adopt its positions on the status of Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by Beijing as part of its territory, and other issues in advertising and on their websites.
Activists and foreign governments claim that around 1 million Uyghurs and members of other minorities, mostly Muslims, have been confined to detention camps in Xinjiang. Chinese authorities reject accusations of abuse and say the camps are intended for vocational training and the fight against extremis.
In December, Intel Corp., the world’s largest computer chip maker, apologized for asking suppliers to avoid sourcing products from Xinjiang after the state press attacked the company and that comments online have called for a boycott of its products. The United States has banned imports of goods from Xinjiang unless it is proven that they were not manufactured by forced labor.
China is one of Tesla’s biggest markets. The company’s first factory outside of the United States opened in Shanghai in 2019.
Other foreign auto brands, including Volkswagen, General Motors and Nissan Motor Co., have showrooms in Xinjiang operated by Chinese joint venture partners of the auto makers. VW also operates a plant in Urumqi.
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