Skip to main content

Tesla Criticized as It Opens Showroom in Xinjiang, China

Tesla has opened a showroom in Xinjiang, China, a move that has drawn criticism from human-rights groups due to reported detainment of Muslims.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report said it opened a showroom in Xinjiang, China, and the move has drawn fierce criticism from human-rights groups concerned about the country's treatment of Muslim minorities living there.

The Austin electric-car maker considers China one of its most important markets.

The Wall Street Journal and other news services reported that on Friday, Tesla posted to its official account on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, which is similar to Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report.

"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 post, according to the Journal.

Reuters reported, however, that United Nations experts and human-rights groups estimate that more than a million people are detained in camps in Xinjiang, which is in northwest China. The detainees include Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, the news service reported.

China has rejected accusations of forced labor or other abuses there, saying that the camps provide vocational training, Reuters reported.

TheStreet Recommends

In a Tuesday statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk to close the recently opened Tesla showroom in Xinjiang, "where Chinese authorities are carrying out a campaign of genocide targeting the Uyghur Muslim minority. ....

"No American corporation should be doing business in a region that is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority."

The group noted that last month Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report removed products made in the Uyghur region from its Sam's Club stores.

CAIR noted that President Joe Biden last month signed the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law. And the administration introduced sanctions against "several Chinese government entities and corporations over abuses they committed against the Uyghur Muslims and other minorities," the group said.

Among other companies that were caught up in the situation was chipmaker Intel,  (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report which had told its suppliers not to source products from Xinjiang. 

The company then apologized, saying in a statement on Weibo that “although our original intention was to ensure compliance with U.S. laws, this letter has caused many questions and concerns among our cherished Chinese partners, which we deeply regret.”