The chemical company BASF from the Chinese region Xinjiang has announced that it will withdraw from the German market, leading to calls for other companies to follow suit. Renata Alt, Chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Human Rights Committee, has urged German companies not to do business in Xinjiang due to its catastrophic human rights situation. The Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that there is an ethical red line for companies doing business there.
The Federal Government Commissioner for Freedom of Religion and Belief, Frank Schwabe, also shared this viewpoint and called on German companies not to operate in Xinjiang. BASF cited reports of possible human rights violations as the reason behind its decision to sell shares in two joint ventures in Xinjiang. Volkswagen has previously had a company examine working conditions at their Xinjiang plant, but no evidence of forced labor was found. However, Uighurs, members of other minorities, and human rights organizations have alleged re-education camps and forced labor, claims that the Chinese government denies.