Satire: German companies profiting on Xinjiang slave labour

15 februari, 2024

This week was not a good one for the ethic footprint of German companies in China. First, chemicals producer BASF was urged by politicians around the world to exit Xinjiang, as media reports exposed human rights abuses by its Chinese partner company.

No sooner had BASF decided to pull out from Xinjiang, before new reports showed how test tracks for automaker Volkswagen in Xinjiang was built by forced labourers from the region’s ethnic minorities.

This is hardly the first time that German companies are accused of doubtful moral practices in the region. But as Niklas ”@KluddNiklas” Eriksson shows in his latest cartoon for Kinamedia, the companies as well as the German government often simply prefers to look in the other direction.

In 2019, Volkswagen’s chief executive said in a BBC interview that he was ”not aware” of detention camps for ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, and late last year an audit commissioned by the company found no indication of forced labor at its controversial plant in the region.

In the light of the new information, will Volkswagen also leave Xinjiang and other German companies follow suit as many German politicians are now demanding? Or will it be business as usual from the corporations, with CEOs avoiding the topic while following chancellor Olaf Scholz on his much expected trip to China in april?

As all this is playing out, Reuters just reported that German direct investment in China last year increased 4.3% to a record high while also increasing as a share of German overall investment abroad.

Follow the money! Follow the Chancellor! Trust the Dictatorship!

The above cartoon can be viewed in full size here.

A full collection of KluddNiklas’ works for Kinamedia can be seen via this link.

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