German chemicals firm BASF to withdraw from Xinjiang after Uyghur abuse claims

International |  IANS  | Published :

London, Feb 10 (IANS) The German chemicals producer BASF has said it will withdraw from its two joint ventures in Xinjiang, after reports about alleged human rights abuses relating to its partner company, which BASF’s CEO said crossed a red line, media reported.

In a statement, BASF said that while “regular due diligence measures including internal and external audits have not found any evidence of human rights violations in the two joint ventures,” the recent reports “indicate activities inconsistent with BASF’s values”.

On Monday, a group of politicians from around the world urged BASF to withdraw from Xinjiang, a region in north-west China where there are widespread reports of state-sponsored human rights abuses, The Guardian reported.

The politicians’ letter followed reports in German media that people employed by BASF’s Chinese partner company, Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry, also known as Markor Chemical, accompanied Chinese state officials on home visits to Uyghur households as part of a government initiative that human rights groups have said is used to spy on people and indoctrinate them.

The alleged visits are said to have happened in 2018 and 2019, at the height of the Chinese government’s campaign to suppress Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. Beijing describes its policies in Xinjiang as counter-terrorism and poverty reduction measures and says it promotes ethnic harmony in the region, The Guardian reported.

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