Members of Uyghur Diaspora have launched protests in 15 cities across 10 European countries against German automotive giant Volkswagen for forced labor of Uyghur people in Xinjiang plant.
Head of Uyghurs Union in Austria, Mevlan Dilsat reminded a recent study by Austrian Strategic Policy Institute titled “Uyghurs for Sale” which reported that Uyghurs in China’s infamous internment camps are used as forced labor for several international brands including Volkswagen. American webpage Buzzfeed reported in December of 2020 that communist Chinese regime opened 135 internment camps near large global plants. Last week, 12 major Japanese companies announced their decision to cease their business deals with the Chinese companies found to be benefiting from the forced labour of the Uyghur community in Xinjiang.
Dilsat also said that he hopes to spread the protests to other countries around the world to pressure German giant Volkswagen to close its East Turkestan (Xinjiang in Chinese) plant and raise awareness about forced labor of Uyghurs which has become a state policy of China.
However, the company’s CEO in China, Stephan Wollenstein, defended on BBC Beijing Volkswagen’s presence in East Turkistan’s capital, Urumqi, where it runs a factory with 600 workers, producing up to 20,000 vehicles a year. Wollenstein claimed that forced labor at the plant took place back when it was built by Nazis but now he makes sure it does not happen.
Opening a car plant in Xinjiang requires the partnership and approval of the Chinese authorities that lends tacit support to the policies of mass incarceration and ethnic repression of China, for which there is now compelling evidence.
The northwestern German state of Lower Saxony which draws hundreds of millions of euros in dividend payments and business tax from VW, owns an 11.8 percent stake in VW and controls 20 percent of the voting rights in the world’s largest carmaker thus becoming a complicit in gross human rights violations of China.