The Council on American-Islamic Relations accuses car manufacturers of ‘helping to kill people’.
Tesla’s announcement to open an exhibition center in Xinjiang has attracted criticism from American civil society and business groups, making it the latest foreign company to be embroiled in disputes over western China.
Xinjiang has been a major conflict between Western and Chinese governments in recent years, as United Nations experts and human rights groups have speculated. more than a million people, mostly Uighurs and a few Muslim members, are being held in camps there..
China has denied allegations of forced labor or other cruelty there, saying that the camps provide vocational training and companies should respect its policies there. The US electric car manufacturer announced the opening of the show in Xinjiang’s provincial capital, Urumqi, on its official Weibo account last Friday. “The last day of 2021 we meet in Xinjiang,” the post said.
On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest Muslim-sponsored organization in the US, condemned this, saying Tesla was “supporting the killing”.
The US called China to treat Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang as genocide. The United States and a few other countries are planning to boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February in this regard.
“Elon Musk should close Tesla’s Xinjiang showroom,” the Council on American-Islamic Relations said on his Twitter account, citing Tesla’s founder.
The same objection came from the US trade group, Alliance for American Manufacturing, and US senator Marco Rubio.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The carmaker operates a factory in Shanghai and is expanding its manufacturing capacity in China.
Several foreign companies in recent months have been embroiled in tensions between the West and China at Xinjiang, as they try to balance Western pressure with China’s importance as a market and marketplace.
In July, Swedish fashion retailer H&M also reported a 23 percent drop in Chinese retail sales in its March-May region after being hit by consumer neglect in March for openly stating that it is not from Xinjiang.
Last month, US chip maker Intel met with the same phone after telling its sellers not to take any goods or services from Xinjiang, which led to an apology for “the problem that has plagued our esteemed Chinese customers, partners and the general public”.
While some have been trying to reduce their visibility in the region, especially since Washington is banning exports such as Xinjiang cotton or baning Chinese companies that claim to support Beijing’s policies there, many foreign nationals operate in stores there.