Elon Musk is under fire for opening a Tesla showroom in Xinjiang, an area of China where Uighur muslims are subject to human rights abuses.
Tesla opened a new showroom in the capital of Xinjiang on Friday, announcing the news on the company’s Chinese social media with a post which read “let’s start Xinjiang’s all-electric journey!”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has since urged Tesla and its billionaire owner Musk to “cease what amounts 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,” the group’s communications director, Ibrahim Hooper, said in a statement.
Some 1m Uighur muslims are believed to be housed in detention camps across Xinjiang where they are subject to human rights abuses and forced labour. The Chinese government denies reports of rights abuses and say the camps are helping to combat extremism.
Companies are under increasing pressure to boycott goods from the Xinjiang region with the US barring imports from the region unless it can be proven they were not made by forced labour. Firms which have restricted activities and links to Xinjiang have faced backlash from Chinese customers.
Last month Intel Corp, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, apologised for asking suppliers to stop sourcing goods from Xinjiang after state media and social media users attacked the decision.
China is one of Tesla’s biggest markets and the opening of a showroom in Xinjiang shows that Tesla hopes to deepen its inroads into the East Asian superpower. The company’s first factory outside the United States opened in Shanghai in 2019.
Tesla’s share price is up 13.53 per cent today after the company announced it delivered a record number of vehicles in Q3.