Pascrell, Blumenauer Call Out Tesla Engagement in China’s Genocide Region

Pascrell

Pascrell, Blumenauer Call Out Tesla Engagement in China’s Genocide Region

Letter to CEO Elon Musk highlights Tesla showroom in heart of Xinjiang; urges carmaker to do more to strengthen supply chains

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, today harshly criticized Tesla’s reported opening of a showroom in China’s Xinjiang Province, the home of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) ongoing persecution and genocide of the Uyghur peoples.  In a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Pascrell and Blumenauer urge the carmaker to do more to strengthen the American supply chain sapped by the increasingly hostile CCP.

“As the Chinese Communist Party commits genocide against the Uyghur peoples and ramps up its hostility towards America and our allies, your misguided expansion into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region sets a poor example and further empowers the CCP at a fraught moment,” Pascrell and Blumenauer write Musk. “American business cannot further empower the gross human rights violations of the CCP.”

Evidence of the genocide in Xinjiang is well documented. From the farm to finished goods, forced labor in the region appears to be prevalent at all levels of the supply chain because of the CCP’s internment of more than one million Uyghurs, as well as forced labor by prisoners incarcerated in the Chinese government’s penal system. Numerous credible reports have detailed forced labor and other violations of fundamental human rights under the CCP’s rule.

The 2021 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s annual report to Congress found that “nearly 85 percent of [U.S. business] respondents are not considering relocating manufacturing or sourcing from China.” Pascrell and Blumenauer urge Musk that “[t]his figure and requisite corporate attitudes must change if we are to stand in opposition to forced labor and human rights abuses that are tantamount to genocide.”

A longtime critic of the CCP, on December 20, 2021, Pascrell helped lead introduction of the comprehensive National Critical Capabilities Defense Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation to strengthen security of the American supply chain and prevent the offshoring of America’s critical production to nations including China.

The text of Pascrell and Blumenauer’s letter to Elon Musk is below.

January 20, 2022

Elon Musk

Chief Executive Officer

Tesla, Inc.

13101 Harold Green Road

Austin, TX 78725

Dear Mr. Musk,

As Chairmen of the House Ways and Means Subcommittees on Oversight and Trade, we write to better understand your interests in China and compliance with our international trade laws. We are dismayed that Tesla has reportedly opened a showroom in the province that is at the heart of China’s Uyghur detainment in camps and forced labor in factories. As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) commits genocide against the Uyghur peoples and ramps up its hostility towards America and our allies, your misguided expansion into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region sets a poor example and further empowers the CCP at a fraught moment.

            Evidence of the genocide in Xinjiang is well documented. From the farm to finished goods, forced labor in the region appears to be prevalent at all levels of the supply chain because of the CCP’s internment of more than one million Uyghurs, as well as forced labor by prisoners incarcerated in the Chinese government’s penal system. Numerous credible reports have detailed forced labor and other violations of fundamental human rights under the CCP’s rule.[1] Weeks after CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping all but declared himself dictator for life and the CCP politburo standing committee tightened its totalitarian grip over virtually every sector, American business cannot further empower the gross human rights violations of the CCP.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need to strengthen the American supply chain. Enduring weakness in the supply chain, coupled with American companies offshoring jobs and capacity to China, constitutes a growing threat to American national security. Recently, the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act (H.R.6329) to strengthen our supply chains was introduced. This legislation would empower the federal government with the tools to prevent more American jobs from going overseas. The 2021 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s annual report to Congress found that “nearly 85 percent of [U.S. business] respondents are not considering relocating manufacturing or sourcing from China.”[2] This figure and requisite corporate attitudes must change if we are to stand in opposition to forced labor and human rights abuses that are tantamount to genocide.

As you may know, Congress recently passed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (Public Law No: 117-78) to ensure that goods made with forced labor in Xinjiang do not enter the United States market. This law creates a rebuttable presumption that goods imported from this region are to be considered made with forced labor. The only other country singled out for such egregious violations of labor and human rights is North Korea. To better understand Tesla’s compliance with this and other U.S. trade laws, please answer the following questions by February 2, 2022:

  1. Does Tesla source any goods made or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region? If so, please list all goods and denote if the good is made or manufactured.
  2. Does Tesla have any financial relations with companies connected to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region? If so, please describe the nature of those relations.
  3. Please confirm if the news reports are true that Tesla is planning to expand into the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. If so, please describe why Tesla is operating in the heart of a region under increased scrutiny for genocide.
  4. Please describe how Tesla is not contributing to or financially benefiting from the forced labor practices rampant in the region.
  5. Does Tesla plan to expand into other regions in China?

As Chairmen of the Oversight and Trade Subcommittees, our panels are deeply interested in exploring ways to improve U.S. national security imperiled by the offshoring of our industrial capacity and undermining of our national security by contributing to labor abuses. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

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