BASF (BAS) is expediting the divestment of its stake in two joint ventures located in Uyghur homeland, so-called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, indicated by the red down-pointing triangle. This decision is prompted by an accusation implicating its partner, Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry, in the suppression of the ethnic Uyghurs.
The initiative comes in the wake of an investigation conducted by German media outlets Der Spiegel and ZDF. The investigation alleges that employees of BASF’s partner, Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry, were found accompanying Chinese officials on visits aimed at surveilling and indoctrinating Uyghurs, with the purported goal of benefiting the Chinese government.On Friday, the German chemicals giant stated that there is no indication of its joint ventures’ employees in Korla being involved in alleged human-rights violations, clarifying that the company does not hold a stake in Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry itself.
“The situation in the Xinjiang region was always part of BASF’s overall assessment of its joint ventures in Korla. Regular due diligence measures, including internal and external audits, have revealed no evidence of human rights violations in the two joint ventures. However, recently published reports about the joint venture partner contain serious allegations that indicate activities that are inconsistent with BASF’s values. Therefore, BASF will accelerate the ongoing process to divest its shares in the two joint ventures in Korla, subject to negotiations and the necessary approvals from the relevant authorities.”, the company said on its website.
Adrian Zenz, the leading researcher on Uyghur human rights and Director & Senior Fellow in China Studies at The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said on Twitter, ‘This decision was overdue, especially in light of BASF’s own history. Now that BASF has taken the right step, Volkswagen’s continued presence in the region is even more problematic.’
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