U.S. corporations that claim to value human rights are continuing to do business in China, a country that promises the “eventual demise of capitalism,” despite the country’s treatment of Uyghurs.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has long held an agenda committed to the”ultimate victory of socialism,” as outlined in a January 2013 speech, given two months prior to becoming president. For China, competition with the United States simply serves as a means to an end, which he acknowledges will only come to fruition after a “long historical process.” The Daily Caller reached out to several companies about their involvement with China in light this agenda and the Biden administration’s declaration that China’s treatment of Uyghurs is genocide; stating China commits “crimes against humanity including imprisonment, torture, enforced sterilization, and persecution.”
Despite knowledge of this, American businesses continue to operate and hold business assets in China, directly challenging the values they claim to uphold.
Recently, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) diplomat, Yang Jiechi, urged US businesses involved in China to cooperate with certain objectives outlined by the regime — including the rejection of “misguided policies” adopted under the Trump administration — under the guise of continued bilateral cooperation for the purpose of yielding mutually beneficial results in both the United States and China.
Among these objectives was an explicit warning for the American business leaders to “avoid disruption” on matters concerning the Chinese government’s handling of affairs in regions such as Hong Kong or Xinjiang.
The Chinese government has placed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uyghurs into camps in Xinjiang, and has been accused of human rights violations of varying degrees.
The Walt Disney Company, which claims to value “social responsibility” and respects “human rights,” collaborates with the state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group on the Shanghai Disney resort. This partnership still operates the Shanghai Disneyland Park, which opened in 2016, in spite of the Biden administration’s findings of egregious human rights violations of Uyghurs by government authorities. The Walt Disney Company did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.
Disney received heavy criticism last fall when the credits to their live-action remake of “Mulan” included a “special thanks” to several CCP groups, including the Turpan Municipal Bureau of Public Safety, which is reportedly responsible for the construction and staffing of the concentration camps in Xinjiang.
At the time, Disney argued that working with a Chinese production company was required in order to film within China’s borders, but did not elaborate on why that particular filming location was necessary.
Amazon promotes several core values and promises to “earn trust” of its customers and “insist on the highest standards.” The Guardian reported in 2019 that leaked documents showed Foxconn, a supplier for Amazon in China, hired children ages 16-18 to create their Amazon Alexa devices.
Amazon previously stated, “Amazon is strongly committed to conducting our business in a lawful and ethical manner, including engaging with suppliers who respect human rights, provide safe and inclusive workplaces, and promote a sustainable future.”
Coca Cola has recently come under fire for coming out against a Georgia voting rights bill. They stated that they were “disappointed” in Georgia and will continue to “advocate for positive change.” However, they continue to do business in China despite the genocide. (RELATED: Major Corporations, Executives Slam Georgia’s ‘Unacceptable’ New Election Bill)
Coca Cola said in a statement that “it prohibits the use of all forms of forced labor and said its sugar supplier in Xinjiang passed an internal audit,” according to PBS News.
Similarly, Under Armour, which relaunched its initiative to fight “voter suppression” in response to Georgia’s bill, partnered with the Chinese Basketball Association which operates under the purview of the state. The company issued a press release stating that they are “deeply concerned by credible reports of forced labor and other abuses in, and outside, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” yet they continue operations of its Shanghai headquarters.
Microsoft, Cummins and Nike directly point to valuing diversity and inclusion in their core standards and mission statement yet continue to operate in a country committing genocide. All three of these companies refused to respond when questioned by the Daily Caller.
A spokesperson for Microsoft previously told The Washington Post, “We do not tolerate forced labor in our supply chain.” However, they continue their operations in China.
Cummins did previously give a comment to the Daily Caller saying, “We are committed to respecting the rights of all people. We also believe our presence in China has a positive impact and has led to improvements over time on a range of aspects including the rights of people as well as labor rights and environmental conditions. As the situation and government policy evolve, we will continue to monitor and take action as appropriate.” However, when asked specifically about capitalism and China, they declined to comment.
Apple specifically points to diversity and inclusion in their core values while claiming to value “becoming a better reflection of the world we live in.” Despite this, half of the world’s iPhones are produced in the Foxconn factory complex in Zhengzhou, China.
An Apple Spokesperson told The Washington Post in 2020 that “Apple has zero tolerance for forced labor,” Rosenstock said. “Looking for the presence of forced labor is part of every supplier assessment we conduct, including surprise audits. These protections apply across the supply chain, regardless of a person’s job or location. Any violation of our policies has immediate consequences, including possible business termination. As always, our focus is on making sure everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and we will continue doing all we can to protect workers in our supply chain.”
Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola have also lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. Apple reportedly spent $90,000 “to lobby on issues including Xinjiang legislation,” according to The New York Times. Coca-Cola reportedly spent 4.7 million on lobbying with an agenda that included the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
Nike pointed the Daily Caller to a previous statement on forced labor in China as the company continues to do business in China.
“The Nike Code of Conduct and Code of Leadership Standards have requirements prohibiting any type of prison, forced, bonded or indentured labor, including detailed provisions for freedom of movement and prohibitions on discrimination based on ethnic background or religion,” Nike said in the statement. (RELATED: US Corporations With Big Business In China Stay Silent On Biden’s ‘Genocide’ Designation)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment, nor did any of the companies mentioned above.
The Daily Caller previously reached out to U.S. companies regarding the status of their business operations in China after several Western nations sanctioned China over their human rights violations and genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang.