December 10, 2023

We’re bearing down on Volkswagen

From Krysta Bisnauth, Freedom United

Over 100 international manufacturers of automotive parts or cars have some exposure to materials or products made with Uyghur forced labor but one particular company has more forced labor ties than most – Volkswagen.
The Ürümchi Plant of Volkswagen China was the first car manufacturing project introduced in the Uyghur region. Despite increasing evidence of the forced labor and detention camps in the Uyghur Region, Volkswagen has refused to close its factory. 
Take action
We wrote to Volkswagen to ask how they have responded to the overwhelming evidence of their ties to the Uyghur forced labor system.
They did not respond but they had an annual general meeting this week in which they faced the ire of activists and shareholders alike.
Already, certain funds have begun to adjust their investment portfolios by removing Volkswagen shares due to concerns about its Ürümchi Plant.
Join the movement

“A more recent statement from Volkswagen Group seems to lend credence to the claim that the continued existence of the Ürümchi plant is more political than economic. Stephan Wölllenstein, Volkswagen China’s outgoing CEO, said that “the executives at the Chinese auto-manufacturers told Volkswagen that if the company closes its Xinjiang plant for political reasons, it will do more harm than good.” – Driving Force: Automotive Supply Chains and Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region[1]

Worse yet, Volkswagen’s China chief visited the factory in February 2023 and said he saw no sign of forced labor.[2] 

Not only was he dismissing evidence of UN experts, scholars and survivors, he was also providing a stamp of approval of the Uyghur forced labor system that the Chinese government should only be able to dream of.
This is unacceptable.
Send a message

Activist at the Volkswagen May 10 2023 Annual General Meeting. Photo: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

This week we’re taking action against Volkswagen online and in the streets.

We know that other car companies are benefiting from exploitation and forced labor, but companies like Volkswagen represent a massive share of the global car market while blatantly operating in the heart of the forced labor system in China.

Join us in demanding they stop profitting off the back of forced labor.

In solidarity,

Krysta and the team supporting the Freedom United community

[1] Driving Force: Automotive Supply Chains and Forced Labor in the Uyghur Region
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