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Volkswagen defends operations in Xinjiang, China

Volkswagen prepares to continue operations at its plant located in Xinjiang, China despite reports of human rights violations there, CEO Herbert Diess said according to the Handelsblatt newspaper on Monday.

The automaker has a joint venture with China’s biggest automaker SAIC Motor and since 2013 they are running a plant in Urumqi, Xinjiang where ethnic Uyghurs allegedly face torture and detention.

“I believe that the presence of SAIC Volkswagen leads to the situation improving for people,” Diess was quoted as saying by Handelsblatt.

“We travel there, and like everywhere in the world we ensure our labor standards are implemented, and that cultural and religious differences are respected,” Diess added.

Diess said any evidence of wrongdoing at the plant would be met with a “massive” response.

Germany’s Economy Ministry has declined Volkswagen guarantees to cover new investments in China due to alleged human rights violations there.

China has denied any mistreatment of Uyghurs.

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