Intel apologised to Chinese customers, partners and the general public on Thursday after a letter instructing its suppliers not to purchase products or labour from the western province of Xinjiang sparked outrage. Following restrictions imposed by multiple governments, Intel recently published what it described as an annual letter to suppliers, dated December, in which it stated that it had been ‘required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region’.
The message, which was posted on the company’s website and translated into many languages, drew condemnation from the Chinese state and social media, as well as demands for a boycott.
Intel said its promise to avoid supply chains from Xinjiang was an expression of compliance with US law, not a declaration of its view on the topic, in a Chinese-language statement posted on its official WeChat and Weibo accounts on Thursday. ‘We apologise for the trouble caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners and the public. Intel is committed to becoming a trusted technology partner and accelerating joint development with China’, Intel said.
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It is the latest multinational to face criticism as it seeks to comply with Xinjiang bans while maintaining operations in China, a large market and supply base.
More than a million individuals, mostly Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities, have been incarcerated in a system of camps in Xinjiang in recent years, according to UN experts and rights groups. China denies human rights violations in Xinjiang and claims that its actions there aid in the fight against extremism.
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