Volkswagen is not closing its factory in Xinjiang as long as it's 'economically feasible,' exec says

Sinéad Baker
·1 min read
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A Volkswagen worker works on the ID 3 electric car. picture alliance/Getty Images
  • A Volkswagen executive said its Xinjiang factory will stay open as long as it's "economically feasible."

  • China detained at least a million Uyghurs there, and reports connect forced labour to global brands.

  • The exec said "We can't have an issue like forced labor because we employ employees directly."

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Volkswagen executive said the carmaker will not close its factory in Xinjiang, China, as long as it's "economically feasible."

Stephan Wöllenstein, the CEO of Volkswagen Group China, told journalists in Shanghai on Sunday: "We have made it clear that we must stand by our commitment in China as a whole, and we will also stand by our commitment in Xinjiang as long as we believe that it is economically feasible," the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported.

Volkswagen has a factory in the major of Urumqi in Xinjiang

China has detained at least a million members of the Uyghur community - a mostly-Muslim ethnic group - in prisons and other facilities in their home region of Xinjiang. Beijing calls them "re-education camps," saying Uyghurs' religion makes them an extremism threat.

Reports have connected labor and materials used by major global brands to forced Uyghur labor there.

According to Der Spiegel, Wöllenstein said: "We can't have an issue like forced labor because we employ employees directly."

Lawmakers in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands have said that China's actions in Xinjiang amounted to genocide.

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