No Room for Ignorance; The EU must Act NOW to help STOP the exploitation of Uighurs in China

3 min read

The word has just about reached all four corners of the world regarding the horrible fate Uighur Muslims are facing in extrajudicial internment camps in the region of Xinjiang, Western China. The fact is around a million Uighur Muslims and other minorities are jailed in the remote region.

The Chinese government continues to make an enormous effort to cover up news for fear of exposure. By harassing foreign journalists to arresting family members of activists, the Chinese Government is hiding its inhumane deeds within its own borders.

Mr. Herbert Diess, the chief executive of Volkswagen initiated a factory in Xinjiang in 2013. The company employs around 700 local workers. Volkswagen turns out up to 50,000 cars per anum.

Mr.Diess said in an interview with the BBC in April, that he was not conscious of any camps in the vicinity and denied any knowledge of the Muslim minorities held in mass detention.

The fact is that Mr. Diess’s factory is only a 90-minute drive from four detention centers. The company, however, issued a new statement saying it was, in fact, aware of the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang and stated that they were committed to human rights.)

An investigation has found that other European company heads operating in the Xinjiang area are not fully informed on the situation in Xinjiang.

Uighur woman/Getty image

Siemens, a large German firm frequently networks with China electronics Tech group. It has developed a policing app used in Xinjiang that, according to Human Right watch has led people to be imprisoned in the camps. About half of the largest 150 European companies operate in Xinjiang have been dubbed by Amnesty International “an open-air prison.”

The Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica has a joint venture with China Unicom and appears to use big data for tracking people in real-time using ID numbers unique to cellphone numbers.

Business leaders and politicians constantly get riled up at the prospect of directly braving China on its human rights abuses. A fixed attitude is believed to jeopardize future business relations.

Nonetheless, if the EU would take the stance — take advantage of its position as China’s largest trading partner, President Ji Jinping who can’t afford to destabilize the economy over a political dispute, might be swayed into a position in which an agreement may be achieved.

The EU is obliged to stand up for its values and leverage its economic relationship with China. It must pressurize the Chinese Government to stop one of the most egregious human rights violations happening in the world today.

Ignorance is the worst crime, there is simply no room for it.

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