Apple and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway have business dealings with a Chinese wind energy giant that is linked to a disputed government and labor plan in Xinjiang. The United States and other countries claim that China is conducting a campaign against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Genocide.
Xinjiang Goldwind, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, negotiated at least once to receive “labor export” from the Hotan area of Xinjiang to a factory hundreds of miles away. New research findings from the Technology Transparency Project. Hotan officials travel According to an archived document, as part of efforts to strengthen the “organization and discipline education” of workers, it “coordinates” the export of labor services to the Goldwind Technology Factory. Local government media reports Discovered by the Technology Transparency Project.
The “Labor Transfer” program and Forced labor of Xinjiang Muslim minorities“Forced labor has now become an integral part of the government’s efforts to’re-educate’ Muslim minorities,” Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies Written in 2019, As part of its extensive research on this issue.
Goldwind is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of wind turbines and has close ties to the ruling Communist Party typical of many successful Chinese companies. But its connection with Xinjiang is extraordinary. The company’s chief executive has issued a clear statement supporting the government’s plan to place Communist Party cadres in the homes of Muslim families in Xinjiang. In December, Goldwind signed an agreement with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary organization of the United States. Correct Last year because it was related to human rights violations in the area.
Whether the technology transparency project’s “labor export” discussions in 2016 yielded results is unclear, but the plan raises “disturbing questions about whether wind turbine companies are involved in the exploitation of Uyghurs in their hometown of Xinjiang,” it reports, Released today.
In answering questions from this article, Goldwind stated that “the information and accusations of the Technology Transparency Project are absolutely false and have no factual basis” and stated that Goldwind has never engaged in the forced export of labor from China or any region in China. No forced labor of any kind is used.
Goldwind also stated that the wind turbines it supplies in North America and other regions are manufactured and assembled on the east coast of China, not in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government is launching a campaign Monitor, Imprisonment, with Compulsory labor Targeting millions of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, including Uighurs and Kazakhs. The plan aroused strong condemnation from United Nations officials and governments including the United States, the European Union and Canada.
In 2016, Apple Invest in In the four wind power projects in cooperation with Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Co., Ltd., Goldwind Technology is a subsidiary that operates wind farms in China. Tianrun gave Apple a 30% stake in each project. None of the wind power projects are located in Xinjiang. Apple stated that these projects were completed in 2017, and Goldwind has not supplied them since then.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental, policy and social initiatives, said the investment is part of Apple’s “commitment to reduce carbon emissions during manufacturing.” Tell the official newspaper “China Daily” At the time, he added that this would enable Apple to deliver clean energy to its suppliers in China.
“Finding the existence of forced labor is part of every assessment we conduct in every country/region where we do business,” Apple said in response to questions about this article. “We are paying close attention to this situation. In the past year, despite the restrictions of COVID-19, we conducted further investigations and found no evidence of forced labor anywhere in our supply chain.”
In October 2018, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Provide funds to Goldwind’s Chicago subsidiary will develop a USD 250 million wind farm In McCulloch County, Texas, it is called the Rattlesnake Wind Project.Goldwind Sold the itemIn November 2020, it once described it as the largest in the United States.
As of press time, Berkshire Hathaway did not respond to a request for comment.
Goldwind’s ties with Xinjiang pose more difficult questions for Western companies doing business with China’s fast-growing alternative energy industry. BuzzFeed News January report Solar energy relies heavily on key components used in solar panels mainly manufactured in Xinjiang.
Goldwind Technology occupies 21% of the national wind energy market, According to Bloomberg New Energy FinanceIt Have state-owned shareholders, Including the state-owned power company China Three Gorges Corporation.The company’s 2020 net profit An increase of nearly 35% Compared with the same period last year, it reached 452.4 million U.S. dollars.
American government Prohibition of imports of tomatoes and cotton People from Xinjiang say that both industries are entangled with forced labor.But Xinjiang’s largest export to the U.S. in 2020 is actually wind turbines, South China Morning Post December report, Citing Chinese government trade data.
“The United States is a hot market for wind power, so all suppliers are trying to sell there,” said Zhou Xizhou, head of the global power and renewable energy business at market research firm IHS Markit.
Wu Gang, the founder and chairman of Goldwind, visits southern Xinjiang, a region where Uighurs account for a large proportion of the population, at least six times a year to carry out “poverty alleviation work”, including living and eating with family members in the village, because according to Goldwind An article published in 2018, the government requested company account On the Chinese social media platform WeChat, and was discovered by the Technology Transparency Project.These trips are part of a controversial government plan called fanghuijuIt is the acronym for the slogan “Visit the people, benefit the people, and unite people”.
Wu’s participation in the program was described as part of Goldwind’s work to become an excellent “corporate citizen”. The article stated that during these trips, Wu played football with local children and set up a “cultural station.”
But the fanghuiju According to a study, the plan promotes state surveillance 2018 survey Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch found that in these visits, which may last for several days, “family members must provide officials with information about their lives and political views and be politically indoctrinated”. The organization called on the government to terminate the program immediately, adding that there is no evidence that families have the right to refuse these visits.This fanghuiju program Also make Human Rights Watch found that the government collects data on ethnic minorities to help determine who is detained.
Wu is a former Chinese rubber stamp congressman, National People’s Representative Meeting, And is still a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The functions of this legislative body are mainly ceremonial.
Goldwind Signed an agreement In December last year, four months after the United States imposed sanctions on the organization, it cooperated with a department of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps to provide electricity to a small city called Beitun.
Goldwind’s huge influence in the market has won many Western business partners for it. The Las Lomas wind energy project in southern Texas consists of 48 wind turbines distributed on more than 36,000 acres of land near the Mexican border. Operated by French energy company Engie and sells electricity to Microsoft. South China Morning Post survey Shipping records and other official data show that Las Lomas purchases wind turbines from Xinjiang Goldwind Technology.Wu Said Enji Is a big customer The company’s subsidiary, Goldwind International.
In response to a question from BuzzFeed News, the company stated: “Regarding the situation of Uyghurs in China, Engie has decided to conduct specific inspections of its related suppliers.” It added that the company is committed to ensuring that forced labor is not used in its supply chain.
In recent months, scrutiny of Apple’s work in China has been increasing.information May report It and two human rights organizations discovered seven Apple suppliers related to forced labor-related projects. The publication reported that at least five of them “received thousands of Uighurs and other minority workers in specific factories or subsidiaries working for Apple”, adding that an Apple supplier was in a suspected detention center in Xinjiang. There is a factory nearby.
“We urge Apple CEO Tim Cook to withdraw funds from Chinese suppliers suspected of forced labor,” US Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressional Executive China Committee Co-Chair James P. McGovern told BuzzFeed News in an interview . statement. “We also require Apple to contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection about its Chinese supply chain to ensure that Apple’s imports do not involve forced labor. A consistent, tough, and global response must be made to the atrocities in Xinjiang.”