Friday, January 21

Tesla in Xinjiang: Beijing rejects US criticism

A Tesla dealership in Amsterdam, October 2019JOHN THYS

China on Thursday rejected US “hypocrisy” after US criticism of automaker Tesla, which announced the opening of a dealership in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang (northwest ).

The American manufacturer of electric cars announced on January 1 the opening of a point of sale in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, where Beijing is accused of repression against the majority Uyghur ethnic group, in particular by resorting to work strength.

While organizations have called for boycotting products made in Xinjiang, Tesla’s announcement has been denounced by US officials, like Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

The latter accused the company of Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, “of helping the Chinese Communist Party to cover up the genocide and slavery in the region”.

The White House, for its part, said that “the international community, including the public and private sectors, must not take their eyes off what is happening in Xinjiang”.

In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin rejected “lies” and “hypocrisy” from the United States, which he said is trying to “suppress China economically and politically, under pretext to defend human rights “.

Human rights organizations accuse the communist regime of having interned more than a million Uyghurs in political re-education camps.

Beijing denies this figure and speaks of “vocational training centers” intended to keep the population away from radicalization, after attacks attributed to Islamists or Uyghur separatists.

Referring to accusations of forced sterilizations in Xinjiang, Washington also accused Beijing of engaging in “genocide” in this region of more than 20 million inhabitants, the size of France three times.

The American association Council for American-Islamic Relations called on Tesla to close its concession.

Tesla is the latest of the international companies criticized for its presence in Xinjiang.

Swedish ready-to-wear giant H&M remains blocked on shopping sites in China after promising not to use cotton produced in Xinjiang, attracting a boycott campaign from Chinese consumers.

On December 31, Tesla announced the recall of 200,000 vehicles sold in China for potentially defective trunks.

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