According to Xinhua News Agency, the German Volkswagen Group issued a statement on December 5 in response that the external auditor it commissioned did not find any signs of "forced labor" at the Volkswagen plant in Xinjiang. Mingsheng's report containing alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang is "inconsistent with the facts and completely misleading".
According to the statement, the audit team conducted on-site interviews and investigations on the contracts and wage payments of 197 employees at the Volkswagen Xinjiang factory in accordance with the management system standards of international human rights principles. Eight areas of the factory were evaluated, including child labor, forced labor, health and safety. Finally, the audit team found no sign of so-called "forced labor" at Volkswagen's Xinjiang factory. Marcus Lenin, founder and general manager of Germany's Lenin, an auditor, said: "We examined the labor contracts and wage payments of all 197 employees in the past three years, conducted 40 interviews and conducted free inspections to the factory. Comparing the data collected, we found no signs or evidence of forced labour."
It is understood that SAIC Volkswagen (Xinjiang) Co., Ltd. was established in May 2012. the Volkswagen Xinjiang factory is located at 4253 Wansheng Street, Urumqi Economic and technological Development Zone, Xinjiang. It laid the foundation in May 2012 and put into production in February 2013. According to the audit report, the maximum number of employees at Volkswagen's Xinjiang factory was 650. As of November 1, 2023, the Volkswagen Xinjiang factory had 197 employees, of which 23.9% were ethnic minorities, including Uighurs. Seventy-six per cent of employees have been working since 2015 or earlier, with higher-than-average pay but low intensity, says Mr Lenin.
As Xinjiang is located in a special position, some anti-China forces in the United States and the West have subverted black and white and created something out of nothing, concocting and spreading a large number of false information about Xinjiang, tarnishing China's image, and slandering China's policy of governing Xinjiang, in an attempt to deceive the international community and interfere with and undermine the stable development of Xinjiang. Among them, German Volkswagen is an important target of Western public opinion. Volkswagen Group is one of the most influential automakers in Europe, with well-known brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Lamborghini and so on. It has set up joint ventures with SAIC, FAW and Jiangqi Group in China, while the factory in Xinjiang Uygur is set up by Volkswagen and SAIC. It is Volkswagen's first production base in western China and the only car company to set up a factory in Xinjiang.
In June 2022, the German government refused to guarantee Volkswagen's investment in China on the grounds of the so-called "human rights issue" in Xinjiang. In June of the same year, the former Volkswagen CEO Dis said of the Xinjiang factory that the plant would help improve the lives of local people and that its construction had a good vision, that is, "the Chinese government wants to industrialize an underdeveloped area, and we want to be part of it." The following month, Stephan W ö llenstein, outgoing CEO of Volkswagen China, said Volkswagen had decided to continue to operate its plant in Xinjiang after discussions with its Chinese partner SAIC. It said that if Volkswagen closes the Xinjiang factory for political reasons, it will do more harm than good, and it will be very difficult to restart the factory again after closing the factory. In February, Volkswagen China CEO Berred said after visiting a factory in Xinjiang, China, that employees were satisfied with their work at the factory and that there was no evidence of human rights violations or forced labor, which has not changed before or after his visit to the factory.
"Automotive Industry concern" commented that Volkswagen still chooses to operate a plant in Xinjiang under political pressure, which proves the importance of the Chinese market to Volkswagen. This is also the position that Volkswagen continues to clarify to China. Former Volkswagen CEO Dis even said, "the future of the company will be decided by China." According to the data, Volkswagen Group delivered 6.7158 million new cars worldwide in the first three quarters of 2023, an increase of 10.9% over the same period last year. Among them, sales in China were 2.2891 million, down 3.0% from the same period last year, accounting for 34.1% of the global market share. It is the largest single market in the world, but it is the only one that has declined.
With regard to the "unreasonable" and "nonsense" of the German Volkswagen statement clarifying the problems involved in the Xinjiang factory, the Global Times published an article that "people who slander Xinjiang and Volkswagen were afraid of the truth." The Global Times commented that "slandering Xinjiang's' forced labor'is the largest international lie made up by US and Western public opinion in the 21st century. It seems to be made of 502 glue to achieve the effect that people can't even jump into the Yellow River." Entrusting a third party to conduct an investigation this time is, to some extent, using magic to defeat magic, but after all, this is a properly run multinational enterprise without any fault, bowing to the "politicized mafia" of public opinion and business. Washington is the "boss" of this power. This is a sad thing. "
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