White House spokeswoman says US companies should never apologize for standing up for human rights, opposing repression.
ANKARA (AA) – Intel apologized Thursday to China after it asked its suppliers in a letter to avoid sourcing from the Xinjiang autonomous region.
“Although our original intention was to ensure compliance with US laws, this letter has caused many questions and concerns among our cherished Chinese partners, which we deeply regret,” Intel said in a statement posted on Chinese blogging website Weibo.
Intel told suppliers in a letter that it is required to ensure its supply chain does not use any labor, source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.
“Our investors and customers have inquired whether Intel purchases goods or services from Xinjiang region of China. Multiple governments have imposed restrictions on products sourced from the Xinjiang region,” said the letter earlier this month.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Thursday that the US believes “in general matter” the private sector and the international community should oppose China’s “weaponizing of its markets to stifle support for human rights.”
“We also think that American companies should never feel the need to apologize for standing up for fundamental human rights or posing repression,” said Psaki.
She also reiterated the US call for all industries to ensure that they are not sourcing products that involve forced labor, including forced labor from Xinjiang.
“The reality is that companies that fail to address forced labor and other human rights abuses in their supply chains face serious legal risk … not just in the United States, but in Europe and other regions of the world,” she added.
In Xinjiang, ethnic Uyghur Muslims have been subjected to years of abuse because of their identity and culture.
According to UN data, at least 1 million Uyghurs are kept against their will in places Beijing calls “vocational training centers” but which critics call places for indoctrination, abuse and torture.
As many as 1.6 million Uighurs, according to the World Uyghur Congress, have left China to live abroad.
Rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, accuse Beijing of oppressing 12 million Uighurs, most of whom are Muslims.