German companies and China’s human rights – level 3

13-02-2024 07:00

German media allege that a partner company of BASF, a chemical giant, is involved in human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

The investigation revealed that employees of the partner company were reportedly spying on Uighur households, aiding the Chinese government’s re-education campaign. BASF has denied involvement in forced labor or human rights violations; however, critics find their defense questionable, given the shared compound and potential complicity of their joint ventures. Similar allegations have targeted other companies like Toyota and Volkswagen, indicating a systemic issue in China’s supply chains. Despite economic interests, companies must prioritize ethical production and consider divesting from Chinese supply chains to avoid supporting forced labor. While the EU’s proposed supply chain law is a step forward, experts argue it may not effectively address state-imposed forced labor in Xinjiang.

Difficult words: compound (something formed by a union of elements or parts), complicity (involvement in wrongdoing), divest (to remove investments).

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What steps can companies like BASF, Toyota, and Volkswagen take to ensure they are not complicit in human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region?


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