Those who smear Xinjiang and Volkswagen are afraid of truth: Global Times editorial
Published: Dec 07, 2023 12:34 AM
Volkswagen Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Germany-based Volkswagen Group issued a statement on Tuesday local time, stating that an independent review conducted by a human rights consultancy firm commissioned by Volkswagen found no evidence of "forced labor" at its factory in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. This question, which the public opinion from US-led West has unjustifiably forced upon Volkswagen for two to three years, has finally been answered via Western formulas and reasoning processes. However, this answer has been met with indifference in Western public opinion. The overall attention and intensity of coverage it received were vastly smaller than the pressure it had previously put on Volkswagen. On the issue of so-called forced labor in Xinjiang, they do not want the truth. In fact, they are afraid of the truth.

After being smeared with using "forced labor," Volkswagen Group faced increasingly fierce attacks in Europe and the US in recent years. The German government, based on baseless false accusations, refused to provide guarantees for any new investment projects by the Volkswagen Group in China. Some investors also began to use divestment as a threat.

Volkswagen Group was forced to repeatedly prove its innocence to Western public opinion but found itself in a situation where it was unable to explain clearly. With no other choice, Volkswagen commissioned an independent third party to investigate this known fact in Xinjiang. To the people in Xinjiang, it's like asking a farmer to prove why planting peas does not yield cucumbers.

Volkswagen enlisted Löning, a human rights consultancy firm based in Germany, and two Chinese lawyers to conduct a joint investigation. Markus Löning, founder of the German firm, previously served as Germany's Commissioner for Human Rights. According to Löning's report, the audit team conducted 40 interviews and was able to inspect the factory freely. In the end, Löning had to acknowledge that "we could not find any indications or evidence of forced labor among the employees." Following this conclusion, the reaction from Western media and public opinion has been relatively subdued compared to the initial fervor of criticism against Volkswagen. The response is akin to the faint buzz of a mosquito. Some continued to nitpick or chose to shift the attack angle. In any case, they are reluctant to acknowledge the findings. Imagine, though, how Western media would have reacted if the firm had, against its conscience, claimed the existence of "forced labor."

We are not surprised by such results. The accusation of "forced labor" in Xinjiang is the largest international lie concocted by Western media in the 21st century. It was as sticky as super glue, crafted to leave a stain that is difficult to wash away. China's Xinjiang is the biggest victim of this lie. The fabricators and disseminators of this lie tarnish Xinjiang by spreading false claims and imposing sanctions on businesses from various countries engaged in normal trade with Xinjiang. They aim to disrupt the stability and prosperity of Xinjiang by pressuring and intimidating companies in the name of "forced labor," seeking to suppress key industries and sectors in Xinjiang and cause forced unemployment in the region.

It seems that someone wants to use Volkswagen as a sacrificial scapegoat. Volkswagen has been successful in its development in China, placing significant emphasis on the Chinese market and serving as a benchmark for mutually beneficial cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises. It is likely that Volkswagen was targeted for these reasons. However, there are also other multinational companies accused of involvement in "forced labor" in Xinjiang besides Volkswagen. These companies also face pressure, and some find it challenging to withstand it, leading them to sever ties with Xinjiang. In comparison, Volkswagen's steadfastness is commendable. By commissioning a third party to conduct an investigation, they are, in a way, defeating magic with magic. Volkswagen is a legitimate multinational enterprise, operating without any wrongdoing. Bowing to the pressure from the politicized dark forces in both public opinion and business realms, with Washington leading from behind, is a lamentable situation.