VW boss in China

Volkswagen must put an end to forced labor in its supply chains

On Friday, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) and the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) demanded Volkswagen’s boss Oliver Blume to use his visit to China – which starts on Sunday – to comment on the role of Uyghur forced labor in the group’s supply chains: “Volkswagen has a moral obligation, not only because of its dark past. The company has to make sure that it is not involved, directly or indirectly, in any genocide crimes against the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples. Mr. Blume must finally ensure – sincerely and in the long term – that Volkswagen’s supply chains are free of Uyghur forced labor,” stated Dolkun Isa, President of the WUC.

Recently published studies by the University of Sheffield show the extent to which Uyghur forced labor is an integral part of supply chains of companies such as Volkswagen. “Mr. Blum should under no circumstances repeat the mistakes of his predecessor Herbert Diess – who preferred to pretend that the Chinese state was not guilty of any crimes against the Uyghurs. In fact, the group should already have checked its supply chains before the supply chain laws came into force. After his return, Blume should meet with Uyghur people whose relatives disappeared in the camps or lost their lives there,” demanded Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect.

“As it has become impossible to conduct independent audits in the region, Volkswagen should shut down its plant in Urumqi immediately. Audit companies such as TÜV-Süd had already left the region in 2020. It is just cynical to go to China to make huge profits despite the ongoing genocide crimes,” Isa added.

Volkswagen is the only automotive company that still has a plant in Xinjiang / East Turkestan. It is located in the direct vicinity of the infamous internment camps. Ralf Brandstätter, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, will probably pay a visit to the plant soon. According to a report by “Business Insider”, Blume will be in China from Sunday to Friday.