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China urges firms not to be ‘blinded by lies’ over Xinjiang rights record

Chinese developer Country Garden says expects to suspend stock listing
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China on Thursday urged companies not to be “blinded by lies” over its rights record in Xinjiang, after German automaker Volkswagen said it was discussing the future of its activities in the troubled region.

In a statement sent to AFP, Beijing’s foreign ministry said allegations of abuses in the region were “entirely a lie concocted… with the aim of destabilising Xinjiang”.

It urged firms to “respect the facts, distinguish right from wrong, and not be blinded by lies”.

Rights campaigners have for years accused Beijing of a brutal crackdown against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, including through forced labour and detention camps.

Beijing denies allegations of abuse and insists its actions in Xinjiang have helped to combat extremism and enhance development.

Germany’s Handelsblatt financial daily reported this week that forced labour may have been used to build a test track for VW in Turpan, Xinjiang, in 2019.

VW said Wednesday it had seen no evidence of human rights violations in connection with the project but vowed to investigate any new information that came to light.

In an apparent sign of the growing pressure on the group over its presence in the region, VW added that it was in talks with its Chinese joint-venture partner SAIC “about the future direction of business activities in Xinjiang”.

“Various scenarios are currently being intensively examined,” VW said in a statement.

Beijing on Thursday said that “the human rights of people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are protected to the maximum extent”.

Claims of rights abuses in the northwestern region, it added, were aimed at “discrediting and suppressing China”.

 

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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