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Tesla’s Xinjiang expansion ‘sets a bad example’, say US lawmakers | Elon Musk

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The chairmen of two congressional panels on surveillance and commerce have attacked Tesla’s expansion in China’s far western Xinjiang region, where mass internment camps have drawn heavy criticism, and questioned the electric car manufacturer on its supply of Chinese products.

“Your misguided expansion into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region sets a bad example and further strengthens the CCP [Chinese government] at a difficult time,” Democrats Bill Pascrell and Earl Blumenauer, who lead two House Ways and Means subcommittees, wrote in a joint letter to Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

Tesla announced on New Year’s Eve that it was opening a showroom in Xinjiang, becoming the latest foreign company caught up in tensions related to the region.

“On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022, let’s launch Xinjiang on its electric journey together!” a Weibo post announcement on December 31 read.

Xinjiang has become a major point of contention between Western governments and China in recent years. UN experts and rights groups estimate that more than a million people, mostly Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities, were held there in camps.

“We are appalled that Tesla has opened a showroom in the province that is at the heart of China’s detention of Uyghurs in camps and forced labor in factories,” Pascrell and Blumenauer write in the letter dated January 19. .

The presidents asked Musk if Tesla sources products made or produced in Xinjiang and, if so, to identify them. They also asked if Tesla had any financial relationships with Xinjiang-related companies and if Tesla planned to expand into other parts of China.

The company operates a factory in Shanghai, where it is ramping up production amid rising sales in China. China has also become a hub for Tesla exports to Europe and other markets.

US President Joe Biden and other lawmakers have stepped up pressure on companies to distance themselves from Xinjiang. Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law on Dec. 23 that bans the import of goods made in the region. Both lawmakers said the questions posed to Musk were in part to “better understand Tesla’s compliance” with the new law and other U.S. business regulations.

The United States has called China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang a genocide, enacting a series of sanctions and regulatory measures against Beijing, including restrictions on American business relations with local operators and suppliers. .

The US government also intends to conduct a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

China has denied all accusations of human rights abuses or forced labor and says its policies are part of counterterrorism efforts and poverty reduction programs.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Tesla’s Xinjiang expansion ‘sets a bad example’, say US lawmakers | Elon Musk

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