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Tesla opens new showroom in Xinjiang, drawing criticism

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Tesla opens new showroom in Xinjiang, drawing criticism
A new Tesla showroom in Xinjiang has drawn international criticism because of the human rights abuses committed in the region. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE

Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Tesla has opened a showroom in Xinjiang, a region in China where human rights crimes have been committed against the Uyghur people for years.

The company announced the opening via Chinese social media channel Weibo on Dec. 31 with pictures of the opening festivities.

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The U.S. has enacted sanctions against Beijing for its continuous human rights abuses against Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region.

Last month, President Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. The U.S. also announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the showroom's immediate closure, stating that the move amounted to economic support for genocide.

"No American corporation should be doing business in a region that is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority," said the council's director of national communications, Ibrahim Hooper, according to The Guardian.

International brands have come under increased pressure to cut business ties with the region over fears of forced labor and other abuses.

Last month, Intel requested suppliers not source goods, services or labor from the region following the signing of the forced labor act.

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While businesses distance themselves from Xinjiang, consumers in the region have criticized or threatened to boycott brands like Intel and H&M.

Governments and human rights groups have called Beijing's campaign of forced assimilation against ethnic minorities -- especially Muslim Uyghurs -- genocide.

China has denied these accusations, calling the policies anti-terrorism and anti-poverty programs.

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