Electric car manufacturer Tesla announced this week that it had opened a major showroom in China’s Xinjiang region, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is accused of persecuting, exploiting, and murdering millions of Uighur villagers for their religious beliefs.
Tesla becomes the latest in an extensive list of companies implicated in tensions related to human rights abuses imposed by the Chinese communist regime on the Uighur ethnic minority, which has sparked strong claims from human rights bodies committed to the cause, Reuters reported.
In recent years, the Xinjiang region has become a significant point of conflict between Western governments and the CCP. Rights groups found that more than one million people, mainly Uighurs and members of other Muslim minorities, have been detained in concentration camps, violating their freedoms, promoting forced abortions, and torturing and killing “rebels.”
Xiao Lu, Tesla’s head of operations in northern China, announced that the 5380 sq ft store in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, is the first step in creating a complete sales and service network in the province.
Tesla carried out a significant expansion in the Asian country in recent years and is undoubtedly one of the reasons that led to its remarkable economic growth in 2021. It already has seven charging stations for its electric cars in Xinjiang, two in Urumqi. It also has another 210 Tesla stores in China and a factory in Shanghai that already produces more vehicles per year than the factory in California.
But behind its growth and expansion in the Xinjiang area lies a sea of blood, which the firm itself is willing to disregard.
“On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022, let us together launch Xinjiang on its electric journey!” Tesla wrote in the release. The opening ceremony included traditional Chinese lion dances and people posing with signs reading “Tesla (heart) Xinjiang,” without even mentioning the Uyghur minority residing in the region under constant threat and persecution by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The CCP seems to be willing to put pressure on large companies that produce in the Asian country to also produce in the Xinjiang area, perhaps to reverse its image in front of the world.
Trolls savagely attacked Walmart on Chinese social networks after withdrawing products made in Xinjiang from its shelves. In addition, Intel was forced to apologize under pressure from the CCP for asking its suppliers to avoid buying products from the same region.
Alliance for American Manufacturing president Scott Paul strongly condemned Tesla’s unveiling in an emailed statement to the media.
“I’ll be blunt: Any company doing business in Xinjiang is complicit in the cultural genocide taking place there. But Tesla’s actions are especially despicable,” Paul said.
On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest U.S. Muslim advocacy organization, criticized the move, saying Tesla was “supporting genocide.”
While millions of Uighurs suffer fierce persecution by the CCP, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, just topped the ranking of the 10 wealthiest people in the world. He also demonstrated the highest economic growth during 2021, as the Bloomberg Billionaires Index reported.