Elon Musk has been slammed by multiple human rights organisations after Tesla opened its most recent showroom in Xinjiang, China.
For those of you that might not be aware, Xinjiang has been in the public eye for a while now after it was discovered that the Chinese government were unlawfully detaining and torturing Uyghur Muslims in the area. Human rights groups including Amnesty International have emphasised that the government is still committing “crimes against humanity.”
Citing a report titled Like We Were Enemies in a War: China’s Mass Internment, Torture, and Persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang, they explained that “Torture and other ill-treatment is systematic in the camps and every aspect of daily life is regimented in an effort to forcibly instil a secular, homogeneous Chinese nation and Communist party ideals.”
Concern for the Muslim minority group has been growing over the past few years ever since harrowing evidence of their persecution started circling social media but it was only recently that countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada denounced the Chinese government over the treatment of the Uyghur people.
The US in particular has enacted a range of measures against the country over the issue, including restrictions on business dealings with local operators and suppliers.
However, that hasn’t stopped others from investing in the area. Despite heavy international pressure, entrepreneur Elon Musk still proceeded to open a new Tesla branch in the province.
On December 31st, the vehicle manufacturer announced the opening in Urumqi with a Weibo update saying: “On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022 let us together launch Xinjiang on its electric journey!”
Of course, the controversial post sparked backlash, with many Uyghur rights groups coming forward to urge the business tycoon to close down the branch immediately.
“No American corporation should be doing business in a region that is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority,” said Ibrahim Hooper, from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Not only that, but Sophie McNeill a researcher from Human Rights Watch in Australia added: “Beijing and businesses have long banked on a global willingness to put profits ahead of human rights, even in the face of crimes against humanity, but we must not allow this to continue in 2022.
“Elon Musk and his Tesla executives need to consider human rights in Xinjiang or risk being complicit.”
The fact that it was even opened in the first place knowing what was going on is simply unacceptable, but right now our main focus is on getting it shut down. So far, there have been no comments from Musk or Tesla representatives, but we’re hoping the severe backlash from the public will pressure him into closing the Xinjiang branch with immediate effect.