Intel deletes reference to Xinjiang after backlash

U.S. chipmaker Intel has deleted references to Xinjiang from an annual letter to suppliers.

Xinjiang is a region in China and the United States has accused Beijing of widespread human rights there towards the local Muslim Uyghurs, including forced labor.

Beijing has repeatedly denied those claims.

Intel has faced a backlash within China for asking suppliers to avoid the sanctions-hit region.

Last month, the company was slammed on Chinese social media for stating its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from Xinjiang.

When Reuters reviewed the same letter on Tuesday - this was deleted.

The letter now reads that the company prohibits any quote "human trafficked or involuntary labour" and the reference to Xinjiang was no longer there.

Intel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who recently helped introduce a bill that would ban imports from Xinjiang into the U.S., said in a statement, quote, "Intel’s cowardice is yet another predictable consequence of economic reliance on China."

Intel apologised last month for the "trouble" it had caused, saying that its commitment to avoid supply chains from Xinjiang was an expression of compliance with U.S. law, rather than a statement of its position on the issue.