CFU PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 1, 2023, 2:00 PM ET
Sabrina Sohail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) strongly condemns Volkswagen‘s China chief Ralf Brandstätter’s recent visit to Urumchi, the capital city of East Turkistan, and claims made afterward about the situation on the ground.
Ralf Brandstaetter was touring the German group’s facility in Urumchi, a city where the Chinese government has been committing human rights atrocities against Uyghur Muslims, on Feb. 16-17. This was part of a joint venture with China’s SAIC Motor and is a clear indication of his support for the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people. His statements after the visit, which downplayed the severity of the situation, are a shameful attempt to cover up the atrocities being committed in East Turkistan.
In 2019, Volkswagen’s then-CEO Herbert Diess commented that he was not aware of the concentration camps in East Turkistan. The company has consistently denied the Uyghur Genocide and issues regarding forced labor and continues to operate its facility in Urumchi. Volkswagen’s CEO Oliver Blume commented on his week-long visit to China last month that “China and Germany have a strong basis for cooperation, and the two sides will continue the win-win cooperative relationship”. Volkswagen also denied maintaining the plant in Urumchi was a condition imposed by Beijing to keep producing cars across China.
CFU’s Executive Director Rushan Abbas said “Ralf Brandstaetter’s comments are deeply troubling. He ignored the overwhelming amount of evidence that shows the Chinese regime’s Uyghur Genocide and use of Uyghur forced labor and turned a blind eye to the United Nation’s report and the independent Uyghur Tribunal’s judgment on China’s crimes. The people he talked to most probably were selected, prepped, and coerced by the authorities, they were not likely to speak of the abuse in front of their abusers. Volkswagen should have valued the testimonies of the camp survivors and the immense amount of evidence on the Uyghur Genocide and forced labor. The international community must condemn Volkswagen and other international companies that continuously profit from Uyghur slave labor and must put an immediate end to this.”
Campaign for Uyghurs calls on Volkswagen to immediately end all business operations in East Turkistan and publicly acknowledge the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people. We also urge the company to publicly denounce the Chinese government’s human rights abuses and take concrete steps to ensure that its supply chains are free from forced labor. We also urge other companies to stop sourcing materials from East Turkistan, cut ties with suppliers linked to Uyghur Forced Labor, implement UFLPA standards throughout their supply chains, and not be complicit in the Uyghur Genocide. We also call on governments and the international community to take a strong stance on this issue to curb any attempt to whitewash the genocide, the slave labor, and the attempts to profit from the Chinese Communist Party’s crimes in East Turkistan.