The Chinese government has up to 3 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in detention camps across China. They are locked up not for anything they have done but simply for who they are as the Chinese government systematically attempts to destroy their culture. Beijing is also moving thousands of Uyghurs to work in factories all over China, often supplying major international brands.
Some brands, such as Volkswagen, claim their due diligence procedures protect against the use of Slave Labour, but experts in slave labour have said it is impossible to carry out reliable diligence in China to ensure firms do not profit from the imprisonment of Uyghurs. The subject is of particular sensitivity for Volkswagen, given their history of using Jewish Slave Labour in the Nazi era, and the recent diesel emissions scandal. They have accordingly emphasised the importance of ethics in their mission statements and we want them to live up to these by taking a lead and closing down their factory in the Uyghur region, so you don’t risk driving products of Uyghur Slave Labour.
Activists are literally calling on VW to close their factory in the Uyghur region. You can join them, using the advice below on how to have an effective conversation with the company.
- Be polite at all times.
- Be patient. Can take 20-30 mins to get thru!
- Remember the person on the phone is an employee & not responsible for policy.
- Be friendly & try and establish a rapport rather than trying to start an argument.
- Most will be very professional & courteous but if not, ask to speak to a superior or someone else
The number to call is 0044 1908 601601
Hello, my name is XXX and I am a supporter of the Stop Uyghur Genocide campaign. I would like to speak to customer relations because I am concerned at suggestions that VW’s supply chain might include Uyghur Muslim Slave Labour in its factory in the Uyghur Region, called Xinjiang by the Chinese authorities. Would you put me through to someone, please? Thank you.
What you want from VW
I would like VW to close their factory in the Uyghur region of China.
Why you want this
Firstly, there is evidence from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute research that the factory may use Uyghur Muslim slave labour. Secondly, the region is host to hundreds of concentration camps. Given VW’s history of running concentration camps and using Jewish forced labour in WW2, the company should distance itself from a concentration camp network whose inmates face torture, death, rape, forced labour and forced sterilisation, and removal of their children into Han Chinese boarding schools. The USA administration, the Canadian and Dutch parliaments, and a recent independent British legal opinion have all recently declared these camps are the epicentre of a Genocide.
Why VW should want this
VW doesn’t want customers to risk driving cars made by Uyghur Slave Labour. The company has said it does due diligence to demonstrate the absence of Slave Labour. However, the main international supply chain audit organisations have refused to work in this region because such diligence is simply not possible there. Organisations such as the Fair Labor Association & the Ethical Trading Initiative recommend companies source from elsewhere.
By closing their factory there, VW would show the same moral leadership as Nike, H&M, Lacoste and ADIDAS have shown in leaving the region. This would enable VW to follow their code of conduct states that “socially responsible conduct and commercial success foster one another.” It would demonstrate the VW did not wish to repeat the Nazi past which your CEO described as “unacceptable” and would show that VW has learnt the ethical lessons from its leading role in the 2015 diesel emissions scandal.
It would put the company on the right side of public opinion in the UK, where a poll last week showed 83% want China to be forced to meet its international human rights obligations.
Finally, withdrawal from this region would enhance VW’s reputation, and appeal to increasingly ethically conscious consumers.
I ask VW to live up to its code of conduct and show it repudiates its past by responding to the Uyghur Genocide by closing its factory in the Uyghur region until the Genocide stops.
Please ask the person you speak to what they will do with your comments and, if you are comfortable doing so, leave your details with them and ask for a reply.