Intel Erases Reference to China’s Xinjiang After Social-Media Backlash

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In a letter to suppliers, the US chip maker previously asked trading partners to avoid sourcing from the Northwest region, where the US has human rights concerns.

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Within days, the Santa Clara, California-based company was condemned by Chinese social-media users and state-run media for cutting business deals with the region, while one of its China brand ambassadors protested. Took back. The chip maker apologized on its Chinese social-media accounts on 23 December, saying the letter was written to comply with US law and did not represent its position on Xinjiang.

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Businesshala, on the same webpage and an investigation of the supplier letter on January 10, found that the company had erased any reference to Xinjiang there. Earlier, Intel wrote in a letter seen on December 23: “Our investors and customers have inquired whether Intel purchases goods or services from the Xinjiang region of China. Several governments have banned products sourced from the Xinjiang region.” Therefore, Intel needs to ensure that our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.” The January 10 edition did not have that word.

Intel said on Monday that the company had issued a statement “to address concerns recently raised by our stakeholders in China regarding how we communicated certain legal requirements and policies with our global supplier network.” Intel said in a Monday statement that it will continue to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations in the US and other jurisdictions where it operates.

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Xinjiang, home to millions of ethnic Muslim minorities, has become a minefield for Western companies and brands, especially as the 2022 Beijing Olympics begin on February 4. Top Olympic Sponsors Including Intel, Coca-Cola Co.

and Samsung Electronics Co.

China’s human rights record has led to calls from some Western politicians and human rights activists to withdraw from the event. Intel is one of 14 global companies that have contracted with the International Olympic Committee to sponsor multiple Olympics.

Researchers say Xinjiang authorities have detained a million members of ethnic minorities in a network of internment camps as part of the government’s ethnic-assimilation campaign. The campaign, which the US government and some lawmakers in other Western countries have called a form of genocide, has included mass surveillance, forced labor, and tighter birth control.

Beijing has dismissed the allegation of genocide as fabricated. Instead, it has described its campaign in Xinjiang as an innovative effort to combat religious extremism and terrorism.

On December 23, President Biden signed the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which prohibits all imports from Xinjiang into the US unless there is evidence that the products are not made by forced labor.

Last month, US retailer Walmart Inc.

It faced a backlash on Chinese social media for allegedly stopping the sale of products from Xinjiang. Walmart then declined to comment. electric car maker tesla Inc.

It recently opened a new showroom in Xinjiang, following criticism from activists and policymakers in the US. Tesla did not then respond to requests for comment.

Intel’s supplier guidance on Xinjiang since December was similar to what the company said in a letter to vendors last year, when it instructed them to “ensure that Intel receives goods/services produced in the Xinjiang region of China.” does not do.”

At a congressional hearing over the summer, Intel’s general counsel Steve Rodgers said the company had no goods from Chinese territory and had policies to restrict Xinjiang-based suppliers. At the hearing, he also said that Intel had spoken to the International Olympic Committee about the importance of human rights to the company.

China is Intel’s largest revenue market, totaling $20 billion, or about 26% of its annual total, for the year ended December 26, 2020, its most recent annual report showed.

Write [email protected] . on liza lin

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