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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Human rights: VW sticks to controversial plant in western China

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“We have no evidence of human rights violations at this plant,” says China Board Member Brandstätter after visiting the site. The UN speaks of serious violations in the area.

The Volkswagen Group wants to stick to the site even after a visit by its China board member Ralf Brandstätter to the controversial plant in the Xinjiang region. “Of course we know the critical reports, we take it very seriously,” said the manager, commenting on allegations that there was systematic oppression of Muslim Uyghurs in the western province. “But we have no evidence of human rights violations in this plant – that hasn’t changed after my visit.”

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Brandstätter traveled to the city of Ürümqi for two days in mid-February to look around the local factory. “I didn’t find any contradictions,” said Volkswagen’s China boss. “I have no reason to doubt the information and my impressions. Regardless of that, of course we’re still looking.”

A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights last year spoke of serious violations in the area. “We are indeed deeply concerned by the finding in this report and have looked at it very carefully,” said VW’s head of external relations, Thomas Steg. “We have never ignored the situation or taken it lightly, but have repeatedly made it clear that the Volkswagen Group does not tolerate forced labor or other forms of discrimination.”

According to some non-governmental organizations, there are supposed to be re-education camps in Xinjiang. The VW works council in Wolfsburg emphasized that a formal lack of direct action on the processes in the plant “does not release the group from confronting the issues and actively positioning them”.

Source: Stern

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