Airbnb questioned over Xinjiang enterprise amid Uighur ‘genocide’

More than a dozen of Airbnb’s listings in Xinjiang are on land reportedly owned by an organization below US sanctions listing since 2020.

Two members of the US Congress have raised considerations about home rental agency Airbnb Inc’s enterprise actions in China’s Xinjiang area, the place Washington says Beijing is committing genocide in opposition to Muslim Uighurs and different ethnic teams.

Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative James McGovern, two Democrats who respectively chair and co-chair the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, despatched Airbnb a letter (PDF) asking about a few of its listings in Xinjiang and different points.

The legislators stated they had been elevating “questions about Airbnb’s commitment to human rights and anti-discrimination in China as it sponsors the Beijing Winter Olympics” that begins subsequent month.

“While Airbnb continues to maintain listings in the XUAR, it has not publicly condemned the continuing genocide taking place there, or other egregious, systematic human rights abuses being carried out against ethnic minorities in China,” the letter stated, referring to the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

China denies abuses in Xinjiang.

The legislators cited an Axios web site report that greater than a dozen of Airbnb’s listings in Xinjiang are on land owned by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), which was hit by US Treasury Department sanctions in 2020.

The motion freezes any US belongings of the corporate and officers and usually prohibits Americans from coping with them.

The letter cited the US Department of State as saying XPCC is a quasi-military organisation “directly involved in forced labor and possibly other human rights abuses” in Xinjiang.

The two legislators stated Airbnb “continues to operate in a country whose laws require hosts to discriminate based on ethnicity, place of origin, or lack of a passport, when the ability to obtain a passport can be impossible for people of some ethnic groups”.

Airbnb didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

In 2019, the web home rental firm additionally got here below intense criticism by Palestinian rights teams for persevering with to listing rental properties in unlawful Israeli settlements within the occupied West Bank.

Xinjiang has develop into a major level of battle between Western governments and China lately, as United Nations consultants and rights teams estimate greater than one million individuals, primarily Uighurs and members of different Muslim minorities, have been detained in camps there.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington on Friday repeated its denials of abuses in Xinjiang and stated sure members of Congress “repeatedly hyped up the issues and exerted pressure on companies”.

It asserted some legislators had a “malicious intention of hijacking business with political schemes and keeping China down with Xinjiang-related issues”.

On Tuesday, Tesla was additionally criticised following its announcement that it has opened a showroom in Xinjiang.

Under intense stress from the US Congress, President Joseph Biden signed a brand new legislation in December banning merchandise made in Xinjiang as a result of reported rights abuses.

The legislation imposes a near-blanket ban on the import to the US of products from Xinjiang by requiring suppliers to first show their merchandise weren’t made with pressured labour. Xinjiang is a big provider of cotton and photo voltaic panels.

China stated the US motion is a type of “economic bullying”. Beijing additionally imposed sanctions on 4 members of the US authorities’s Commission on International Religious Freedom in retaliation for penalties imposed on Chinese officers over the Xinjiang subject.

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