The Chinese government subjects Uyghurs to systematic forced labour. Many leading international brands are complicit.
1st February 2023 – Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume is visiting China this week
Yesterday, Global Times reported Blume as saying “China and Germany have a strong basis for cooperation, and the two sides will continue the win-win cooperative relationship” and “Volkswagen supports fair global trade development, and has a clear strategy to conduct investment and cooperation in China.”
But is it a “lose-lose” for Uyghur Muslims, and how can this be “fair global trade development” when there is a suspicion that Volkswagen profits from forced labour?
Is Volkswagen profiting from forced labour?
In 2012 VW set up a plant in Urumqi, the heart of the Uyghur Region of Xinjiang. According to the Chinese Automotive Associations, contracts demand “patriotic education” and “military training” for the employees. When asked to give an assurance that none of the Urumqi workforce – of which around a quarter is made up of Uyghurs and other minorities – had been in an internment camp, VW’s CEO in China said he could not.
What you can do to help end Uyghur forced labour
As a Jewish organisation, we are asking Volkswagen, a company with historic links to Nazi Germany, to ensure it is on ‘the right side of history’ by ensuring its production and supply chains are not tainted by the stain of forced Uyghur labour.
- Email Sebastian Rudolph (VW’s Head of Global Group Communications) and Feili Peng (Head of PR, Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Volkswagen Group China) asking them how VW will ensure it does not profiting at the expense of the Uyghurs’ human rights. Read our information sheet on VW in Nazi Germany and present-day Xinjiang. Let us know if you receive a reply from either of them – email@example.com
- Ask your MP to call on the government to ban the import of products made with Uyghur forced labour
- 20% of the world’s cotton comes from Xinjiang – when shopping, try to choose products that use cotton grown elsewhere
- Avoid brands that are complicit in the exploitation of Uyghur forced labour – visit the Jewish World Watch Uyghur Forced Labour Database to find out which companies have links to Xinjiang
Read the World Uyghur Congress response to Oliver Blume’s visit to China.
End Uyghur Forced Labour coalition
René Cassin has joined a coalition of more than 400 civil society organisations and trade unions united to end state-sponsored forced labour and other egregious human rights abuses against people from the Uyghur Region in China.
Together we are calling on leading brands and retailers to ensure that they are not supporting or benefiting from the pervasive and extensive forced labour of the Uyghur population and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples, perpetrated by the Chinese government.