The chemical company BASF has announced its decision to divest itself of shares in joint ventures in Xinjiang, and this move has been welcomed by German politicians from various parties. Renata Alt, Chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Human Rights Committee, stated that “Xinjiang must become a ‘no-go’ as a location for economic activities for Western companies, including VW.” She emphasized the importance of not making lazy compromises when it comes to human rights.
Frank Schwabe, the Federal Government Commissioner for Freedom of Religion and Belief, demanded that all German companies immediately halt any further business operations in Xinjiang. He asserted that the human rights situation in Xinjiang is catastrophic and confusing, and German companies should not operate there.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen continues to operate its plant in Xinjiang through a joint venture with Saic. The company has been under scrutiny following reports of possible human rights violations at the plant. Despite issuing a commission to examine the working conditions at the plant in Xinjiang, VW insists that it takes its responsibility as a company in the area of human rights very seriously worldwide, including in China. However, reports from Uighurs, members of other minorities, and human rights organizations have revealed that hundreds of thousands of people in Xinjiang have been forced into re-education camps, tortured, and subjected to forced labor. Meanwhile, the Chinese government denies these allegations.