Tesla opens its new showroom this New Year’s Eve in Urumqi, a region in Xinjiang, China which seems to be controversial.
The move by the electric car maker has sparked a new wave of criticism on social media but is overwhelmingly welcomed by China.
Xinjiang has been a major geopolitical hotspot for Washington and China due to the slavery and genocide accusations in the region. For which there’s no trade of goods according to the recent laws.
The news came to light when the company announced its opening on a Chinese social media platform Weibo from its official account. The new Tesla’s EVs showroom is in Urumqi, the home of around 3.5 million people and the Capital of Xinjiang.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio who funded a bill in December 2021, signed and bring into law by President Joe Biden spoke after Tesla’s move on Twitter,
“Nationless corporations are helping the Chinese Communist Party cover up genocide and slave labor in the region.”
The President of the Alliance of American Manufacturing Industry, Scott Paul said, “I’ll be blunt: Any company doing business in Xinjiang is complicit in the cultural genocide taking place there. But Tesla’s actions are especially despicable.”
According to the BBC, Tesla was requested to comment but the company avoided responding immediately.
Right after President Biden signed Sen. Rubio’s Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law, @Tesla opened a store in #Xinjiang. Nationless corporations are helping the Chinese Communist Party cover up genocide and slave labor in the region. https://t.co/2yWBTQSLbM— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) January 3, 2022
Despite criticism from popular bodies, Tesla’s launch was widely accepted and welcomed by Weibo users. A user said,
“Thank you for expanding in Xinjiang, happy New Year!”
Another Weibo user wrote, “You see, Tesla supports the development and construction of Xinjiang, unlike some companies.”
Tesla has been a big investor in China in making roads with the collaboration of Beijing. Eventually, he had strong government support in 2017 when he argued to have complete ownership of the Chinese Gigafactory through an exceptional relationship of that time.
Tesla’s criticism is the chain of the previous controversies raised against Xinjiang. Previously, Nike, H & M, and even US microchip giant Intel faced the same backlashes over the business collaboration with Beijing. The expressed concerns were about the use of Uyghur forced labor in manufacturing goods.
The controversial Xinjiang region is home to a Uyghur minority and there are allegations of forced labor and massacre.
According to the BBC, a report had been published in 2020 on the research which showed that China forced millions of minority individuals for manual labor including Uyghurs in the cotton fields of Xinjiang.
The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk seems to remain in the headlines as previously six women filed sexual abuse lawsuits against the company. This wasn’t the first time when the female workers of the company filed lawsuits for sexual abuse while working at Tesla. Soon after that, Tesla was indulged in the scrutiny of their popular Model 3 Sedans in France due to a crash. The company denied all claims for the crash.
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