Tesla activists call for China showroom closure

Xinjiang region showroom is where Chinese government is accused of human rights abuses against Muslim ethnic minorities

Activists are calling on Tesla CEO Elon Musk to scrap a new showroom that recently opened in China's Xinjiang region due to the government's alleged human rights abuses against mostly Muslim ethnic minorities. 

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"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," CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. "Elon Musk and Tesla must close this new showroom and cease what amounts to economic support for genocide." 

The Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations said, along with foreign governments, about 1 million Uyghurs and members of other mostly Muslim minorities have been confined in detention camps in Xinjiang. Chinese officials reject accusations of abuses and say the camps are for job training and to combat extremism.

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The showroom opening in Urumqi, the Xinjiang capital, was reportedly announced by Tesla on Friday. 

"On the last day of 2021, we meet in Xinjiang. In 2022, let us launch Xinjiang on its electric journey together," the automaker posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo, according to the Wall Street Journal

The Journal noted that Tesla's announcement included photos of the opening, which featured traditional Chinese lion dances and people posing with signs reading "Tesla (heart) Xinjiang."

A Tesla spokesperson did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment. 

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China is one of Tesla's biggest markets. The company's first factory outside the United States opened in Shanghai in 2019.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of a Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China, Jan. 7, 2020.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks next to a screen showing an image of a Tesla Model 3 car during an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai, China, Jan. 7, 2020.  (REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

In addition to Tesla, Volkswagen, General Motors and Nissan Motor Co. all have showrooms in Xinjiang operated by Chinese joint-venture partners. Volkswagen also operates a factory in Urumqi. 

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Tesla's showroom opening comes after the Chinese Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection blasted Walmart on Friday after some shoppers complained online they couldn't find goods from Xinjiang in its Walmart and Sam's Club stores in China. 

"To take down all products from a region without a valid reason hides an ulterior motive, reveals stupidity and shortsightedness, and will surely have its own bad consequences," the government said Friday, according to Reuters.

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In December, chipmaker Intel also apologized for asking suppliers to avoid sourcing goods from Xinjiang after the state press attacked the company and comments online called for a boycott of its goods.

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Tesla isn't the only company to be caught in the crosshairs of CAIR over a connection to China's Xianjing region. Last year, the group called on the public to avoid making reservations at Hilton hotels due to the corporation's licensing of a hotel on the site of a mosque demolished by the Chinese government in the region. 

Others slamming Tesla for the new showroom include the Alliance for American Manufacturing and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. 

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Last month, Congress passed the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans product imports from the Xinjiang region unless businesses can prove they were not made with forced labor. The Biden administration has also announced sanctions targeting several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies, a leading drone manufacturer and government entities for their actions in Xinjiang.

The Associated Press contributed to this report