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VW China Investment Guarantees Denied By Germany Due To Human Rights Concerns: Report

VW China Investment Guarantees Denied By Germany Due To Human Rights Concerns: Report
According to German newspaper Der Spiegel , Germany's Economy Ministry has refused to provide Volkswagen with guarantees to cover future investments in China due to worries over human rights breaches in the Xinjiang area.
The ministry said that it had rejected four applications from a company in Xinjiang due to human rights concerns, but declined to name the firm. Volkswagen was the firm in question, according to Der Spiegel, without identifying sources.
"The human rights situation in Xinjiang has become worse in recent years and involves forced labour and mass internment of Uyghurs," the ministry said.
"The German government has therefore decided not to give guarantees for projects in China that are 1) in Xinjiang or 2) have business ties to entities operating there."
Volkswagen operates a plant in Urumqi, Xinjiang, where western countries and human rights organisations believe ethnic Uyghurs are tortured and detained, thanks to a joint venture with China's SAIC Motor.
China has denied any wrongdoing against Uyghurs, portraying suspected prison camps as vocational training centres where people can "voluntarily" enrol to learn about the law, Chinese language, and practical skills.
A Volkswagen representative confirmed that the company had applied for investment guarantees in China, but that the government had not yet issued an official decision.
The proposals were not for direct investments in Volkswagen's Xinjiang facility or anywhere near it, according to a Volkswagen spokeswoman, but it couldn't be ruled out that a product created somewhere in China might wind up in the region.
Germany, which is scrambling to wean itself off Russian gas after being caught off guard by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, is reevaluating its ties with China and will place a stronger emphasis on human rights, according to Economy Minister Robert Habeck.
Volkswagen stated that it adheres to the United Nations' commercial and human rights guiding principles, which are an intrinsic element of the company's code of conduct.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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