Apple’s Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett have struck business with a Chinese wind energy giant linked to controversial government and business programs in Xinjiang, where the United States and other countries say China is carrying out a genocide of Muslim minorities.
Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, China’s largest wind turbine maker, has on at least one occasion entered talks to receive “labor exports” from Hotan Province in Xinjiang to a facility hundreds of miles away, New research found from the Technical Transparency Project وجد. Hotan officials I travelled to the Goldwind plant to “coordinate” labor exports, as part of an effort to strengthen the “regulatory and disciplinary education” of workers, according to an archived file. Local government media report Disclosed by the Technical Transparency Project.
Employment transfer programs are closely related to Forced labor of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. “Forced labor is now an integral part of the government’s efforts to ‘re-educate’ Muslim minorities,” the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies Books in 2019, as part of her extensive research on the issue.
Goldwind, one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers, has strong relationships with the ruling Communist Party typical of many successful Chinese companies. But its links with Xinjiang are unusual. The company’s CEO has made candid statements in support of a government program that has placed Communist Party cadres in the homes of Muslim families in Xinjiang. In December, Goldwind signed a deal with Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a US paramilitary group sanctioning Last year, it was linked to human rights violations in the region.
It’s unclear whether the 2016 “labor export” discussions have borne fruit, but the plans raise “disturbing questions about whether a wind turbine company has been involved in the exploitation of Uyghurs in its home country of Xinjiang,” the Tech Transparency Project said in its report today. .
In response to this article’s questions, Goldwind said that “the information and allegations from the Technical Transparency Project are categorically false and have no basis in reality,” adding that Goldwind has never engaged in the forced export of labor from any region in China and does not use forced labor of any kind. .
Goldwind also said the wind turbines it supplies in North America and other regions are being manufactured and assembled on the east coast of China, not in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government is campaigning controlAnd the the prison, And the forced labor Targeting millions of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others. The program drew heavy criticism from United Nations officials and governments including the United States, the European Union and Canada.
In 2016, Apple invest in Four wind power projects with Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment, a Goldwind subsidiary that operates wind farms in China. Tianrun gave Apple a 30% stake in each project. There are no wind power projects in Xinjiang. Apple said all of the projects were completed in 2017, and Goldwind hasn’t supplied them since.
This investment was part of “Apple’s commitment to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, The state-run China Daily newspaper At the time, adding that it would enable Apple to send clean energy to its suppliers in China.
“Research for the existence of forced labor is part of every assessment we make in every country in which we do business,” Apple said in response to questions about this article. “We are monitoring this closely and over the past year, despite COVID-19 restrictions, we have conducted further investigations and found no evidence of forced labor anywhere in our supply chain.”
In October 2018, Berkshire Hathaway Energy Provide funding for Chicago-based Goldwind Corporation to develop a $250 million wind farm In McCulloch County, Texas, it’s called the Rattlesnake Wind Project. Goldwind Sell the project, which it described as the largest in the United States, in November 2020.
Berkshire Hathaway has not responded to requests for comment at press time.
Goldwind’s links to Xinjiang raise more difficult questions for Western companies dealing with China’s rapidly growing alternative energy sector. BuzzFeed News reported in January Solar power relies heavily on the major components used in solar panels that are mostly manufactured in Xinjiang.
Goldwind accounts for 21% of the country’s wind energy market, According to data from BloombergNEF. He. She It has state-owned shareholders, including the state-owned China Three Gorges Corporation. The company’s net profit for the year 2020 grew nearly 35% to $452.4 million compared to the previous year.
US government Tomato and cotton imports are banned from Xinjiang, saying the two industries were involved in forced labor. But Xinjiang’s biggest export to the US in 2020 was actually wind turbines, reports the South China Morning Post. reported in December, citing Chinese government trade data.
“The US is a hot market for wind energy, so all the suppliers are trying to sell there,” said Xizhou Zhou, who leads the global renewable energy and energy practice for market research firm IHS Markit.
Wu Gang, founder and president of Goldwind, visits southern Xinjiang — the part of the region where Uyghurs make up a larger part of the population — at least six times a year for “poverty alleviation work” that involves living and dining with families in villages due to government requirements, according to For a 2018 publication published by Goldwind’s Company account On the Chinese social media platform WeChat which was revealed by the Technical Transparency Project. The trips are part of a controversial government program known in Chinese as VanguegoIt is an abbreviation of the slogan “Visit the people, benefit the people, and unite the hearts of the people.”
Wu’s participation in the program is described as part of Goldwind’s job to become a good “corporate citizen”. During these trips, Wu played soccer with local children and set up “cultural stations,” the article said.
but the Vanguego The software facilitates state monitoring, according to 2018 investigation by Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch concluded that during these visits, which can last several days, “families are required to provide officials with information about their lives and political views, and are subjected to political indoctrination.” The group called on the government to end the program immediately, adding that there was no evidence that families had any authority to refuse such visits. The Vanguego a program can also Human Rights Watch has concluded that the government will collect data on ethnic minorities to help identify detainees.
Wu is a former member of China’s rubber seal parliament, National People’s Congress, and remains a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a legislative body whose function is largely ceremonial.
Goldwind She signed her deal With a division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in December – four months after the United States imposed sanctions on the organization – to provide power for a small town called Biton.
Goldwind’s large market presence has earned it a number of Western business partners. The Las Lomas Wind Project in South Texas, which consists of 48 wind turbines spread over 36,000 acres near the Mexican border, is It is run by French energy company Engie and sells energy to Microsoft. South China Morning Post investigation Shipping records and other official data showed that Las Lomas acquired wind turbines from Xinjiang Goldwind. Wu Anji said He is a major customer From the company’s subsidiary Goldwind International.
“With regard to the situation of Uyghurs in China, Engi has decided to conduct specific checks on its respective suppliers,” the company said in response to questions from BuzzFeed News. She added that the company is committed to ensuring that forced labor is not used in its supply chain.
The scrutiny of Apple’s work in China has increased in recent months. the information reported in May She and two human rights groups have discovered seven Apple suppliers linked to programs associated with forced labor. At least five of them “received thousands of Uyghurs and other minority workers at specific factory sites or subsidiary companies that already worked for Apple,” the post reported, adding that an Apple supplier operated a factory next to a suspected detention center in Xinjiang.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative James P. McGovern, co-chair of the Congressional Executive Committee on China, told BuzzFeed News in the statement. “We are also asking Apple to cooperate with US Customs and Border Protection in their supply chains in China to ensure that Apple is not imported with forced labor. There must be a coordinated, robust and global response to the atrocities being committed in Xinjiang.”