Apple and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway have traded with a Chinese wind power giant linked to the controversial government and labor program in Xinjiang, where the United States and other countries say China is carrying out genocide against the Muslim minority.
Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, has entered into negotiations to get a “labor export” at a facility hundreds of miles away from Xinjiang’s Hotan prefecture on at least one occasion, according to new research from the Tech Transparency Project. According to an archived local government media report published by the Tech Transparency Project, Hotan officials went to a Goldwind plant to “coordinate” labor exports as part of an effort to strengthen workers’ “organizational and disciplined education.”
The “labor transfer” program is closely linked to the forced work of the Muslim minority in Xinjiang. “Forced labor has now become an integral part of the government’s efforts to ‘re-educate’ the Muslim minority,” the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington wrote in 2019, as part of its extensive research on the subject.
Goldwind, one of the world’s largest aerospace manufacturers, has strong ties with the ruling Communist Party, like many successful Chinese companies. But its connection with Xinjiang is unusual. The company’s chief executive has made clear in support of a government program that has kept Communist Party workers in the homes of Muslim families in Xinjiang. In December, Goldwind signed an agreement with the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary group that the United States last year banned from engaging in human rights abuses in the region.
It is unclear whether the 2016 “labor export” talks have ever been fruitful, but plans raise “worrying questions about whether the wind turbine company has exploited Xinjiang’s own home Uyghurs,” according to a report in the Tech Transparency Project, released today. Done.
In response to a question from this article, Goldwind stated that “the data and allegations of the Tech Transparency Project are clearly false and have no basis,” adding that Goldwind has never engaged in forced labor exports from any part of China and does not use any form of forced labor.
Goldwind added that the wind turbines it supplies to North America and other regions are built and assembled on China’s east coast, not in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government is monitoring, imprisoning and forcing millions of Muslims in Xinjiang to target Uighurs, Kazakhs and others. The program has drawn strong condemnation from UN officials and governments, including the United States, the EU and Canada.
In 2016, Apple invested in four wind power projects with Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment, a subsidiary of Goldwind, which operates wind farms in China. Tianrun has given Apple a 30% stake in each project. None of the wind projects are located in Xinjiang. Apple said all projects were completed in 2017 and Goldwind has not delivered them since.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environment, policy and social enterprise, told state-run China Daily at the time that Apple was part of its commitment to reduce carbon emissions from its production. To send clean energy to its suppliers in China.
Apple said in response to a question about the article, “Finding the presence of forced labor in the country where we do business is part of every assessment.” “Despite the ban on Covid-1 of, we have monitored it closely and over the past year, we have conducted further investigations and found no evidence of forced labor anywhere in our supply chain.”
In October 2018, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Goldwind funded a Chicago-based subsidiary to build a $ 250 million wind farm in McCulloch County, Texas, called the Rattlesnake Wind Project. Goldwind described it as the largest project in the United States in November 2020.
Berkshire Hathaway did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Goldwind’s connection to Xinjiang raises more difficult questions for Western companies doing business in China’s fast-growing alternative energy sector. BuzzFeed News reported in January that solar energy relies heavily on key components used in solar panels that are mostly made in Xinjiang.
According to BloombergNEF, Goldwind accounts for 21% of the country’s wind power market. It has state-owned shareholders, including state-owned power company China Three Gorges Corporation. The company’s net income for 2020 increased by about 5% over the previous year to $ 252. million million.
The U.S. government has banned the import of tomatoes and cotton from Xinjiang, saying the two industries are involved in forced labor. But Xinjiang’s biggest export to the United States in 2020 was actually wind turbines, the South China Morning Post reported in December, citing trade data from the Chinese government.
“The United States is a hot market for wind power, so all suppliers are trying to sell there,” said Jiju Zhu, who leads the global energy and renewal practice at market research firm IHS Markets.
Goldwind founder and chairman Wu Gang visited southern Xinjiang – a part of the region where Uyghurs make up a large part of the population – at least six times a year for “poverty alleviation work” that includes living and eating with family in the village. According to the 2018 post published from and the government requirements unveiled by the Tech Transparency Project. The trips are part of a controversial government program known in Chinese Fanghuizu, “Meet the people, benefit the people and unite the hearts of the people” is the short form of the slogan.
U’s participation in the program has been described as part of Goldwind’s work to become a better “corporate citizen.” During this trip, Wu plays football with local kids and sets up a “cultural station”.
But Fanghuizu According to a 2018 investigation by Human Rights Watch, the program facilitates state surveillance. During the visit, which could last several days, “families need to provide officials with information about their lives and political views and be politically motivated,” Human Rights Watch said. The group called on the government to stop the program immediately, saying there was no evidence that the family had the power to deny the visits. The Fanghuizu The program enables the government to gather information on ethnic minorities and help determine who is in detention, Human Rights Watch said.
Wu is a former member of China’s Rubber-Stamp Parliament, the National People’s Congress, and still sits at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a legislature whose functions are largely formal.
Goldwind signed its contract with a division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in December – four months after the United States imposed sanctions on the organization – to supply electricity to a small town called Beitun.
Goldwind’s extensive presence in the market has earned it a number of Western business partners. The Las Lomas wind project in South Texas, consisting of 48 wind turbines across 36,000 acres near the Mexican border, is operated by French power company NG and sells power to Microsoft. An investigation of shipping records and other official data from the South China Morning Post found that Las Lomas had collected wind turbines from Xinjiang Goldwind. He said he is a major client of Goldwind International, an affiliate of the NG company.
“Regarding the situation of Uyghurs in China, Angie has decided to carry out a precise check on its respective suppliers,” the company said in response to a question from BuzzFeed News. It said the company was committed to not using forced labor in its supply chain.
Apple’s work in China has been on the rise in recent months. The data reported in May that it and two human rights groups had discovered seven Apple suppliers linked to programs involving forced labor. At least five of them “found thousands of Uyghurs and other minority workers at certain factory sites or subsidiaries working for Apple,” the publication said, adding that one Apple supplier ran a factory next to a suspected detention center in Xinjiang.
“We urge Apple CEO Tim Cook to distance himself from Chinese suppliers in Xinjiang,” said Sen. Jeff Markle, co-chair of the Chinese Congressional-Executive Commission, and Republican James P. McGovern. Statement. “We urge Apple to join US Customs and Border Protection in their China supply chain to ensure that Apple imports are not carried out by force. There must be a comprehensive, rigorous and global response to the atrocities in Xinjiang.”