Activists call on Tesla to close the new Xinjiang showroom

BEIJING (AP), -- American activists have asked Tesla Inc. to close a showroom in China's northwestern region, Xinjiang. There are allegations that officials have abused mostly Muslim ethnic minorities.

Activists call on Tesla to close the new Xinjiang showroom

Tesla announced Friday the opening of its Urumqi showroom, the capital of Xinjiang, and stated on Chinese social media, "Let’s begin Xinjiang’s all-electric voyage!"

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based American organization, urged Tesla's chairman, Elon Musk, Monday to close the showroom and stop "economic support for genocide".

There has been a rise in pressure on foreign companies to adopt positions on Xinjiang and Tibet, Taiwan, and other politically sensitive issues. Companies are pushed by the ruling Communist Party to adopt its positions on their websites and advertising. It attacked clothing brands and others that expressed concern about forced labor and other abuses in Xinjiang.

Ibrahim Hooper (communications director for the group) stated that no American corporation should do business in the region where a campaign of genocide is taking place.

Foreign governments and activists claim that around 1 million Uyghurs, and members of other predominantly Muslim minorities, have been held in detention centers in Xinjiang. Chinese officials deny any abuses and insist that the camps are used for job training and fighting extremism.

Walmart Inc. was threatened with a boycott by the ruling party's disciplinary agency Friday after shoppers complained that they couldn't find goods made from Xinjiang at its Sam's Club and Walmart stores.

After being attacked by the state press and online comments calling for a boycott, Intel Corp., world's largest maker of computer chips, apologised to its suppliers for asking them not to source goods from Xinjiang.

The United States has banned imports from Xinjiang of goods unless it can be proven that they were not made by forced labor.

China is Tesla's largest market. In 2019, the company opened its first factory outside of the United States in Shanghai.

Other foreign brands, such as General Motors, Nissan Motor Co. and Volkswagen, have showrooms located in Xinjiang. These are managed by Chinese joint-venture partners. VW also has a Urumqi factory.

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