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VW accused of human rights violations in China

BERLIN — Volkswagen faced a barrage of criticism from campaigners after the chief of its Chinese business said there were no signs of forced labor during a visit to the automaker’s Xinjiang factory.

Activists and an international group of parliamentarians said it was impossible to verify labor standards in the region.

Human rights groups have documented human rights abuses in Xinjiang since the 2000s, including mass forced labor in camps, which the United Nations said could constitute crimes against humanity.

China denies human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Volkswagenwill spend a day and a half from February 16th to February 17th touring the German Group’s facilities in the region, which are part of a joint venture with China’s SAIC. Did. China.

Brandst├Ątter said there were no signs of forced labor and the workers’ comments were consistent with reports Volkswagen received from SAIC about the plant.

“I can talk to people and draw my own conclusions. I can try to verify the facts and that’s what I did. I couldn’t find any contradictions.”

However, Luke de Pulford of the Inter-Parliamentary Union on China, a group of legislators from 30 democracies including the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, said human rights groups were a minority member of the Uyghur minority. He said he felt he could not verify labor standards. I could not speak freely without fear for their safety.

Campaigners at the World Uyghur Congress in Germany and researchers at Sheffield Hallam University, who wrote a report on the links between the auto industry’s supply chains and Xinjiang, said that visits to the region and talks with workers said it was likely planned in coordination with authorities.

Mr Brandst├Ątter spoke at length with seven workers, including Han, Uyghur and Kazakh, individually, some through an interpreter selected by VW, some in English, and others during the tour. He said he had brief talks with the workers, but that it was done without government oversight.

A spokesperson for the VW works council said in a statement that automakers must be clear about the value of their factories to their business and actively combat human rights abuses in China. .

The factory, which previously assembled Santana, has seen a 65% reduction in staff since the pandemic, doing only final quality checks and installing certain features before taking the vehicle out for regional sales. I am handing it over to the dealer.

This year’s planned production is 10,000, part of the original target of 50,000.

https://www.autonews.com/china/vw-under-fire-amid-allegations-chinas-human-rights-abuses VW accused of human rights violations in China

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