- Intel deleted references to China’s Xinjiang region from a letter to suppliers after sparking online controversy.
- The letter originally urged suppliers to “ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.”
- Intel has since issued an apology, noting that it was merely complying with a new U.S. law banning imports from the region.
Tech company Intel was heavily criticized in China after posting an open letter urging its suppliers to avoid sourcing goods and services from the country’s Xinjiang region.
The semiconductor chip manufacturer appears to have backpedaled by issuing an apology following backlash from Chinese social media users and state-run news outlets, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The original letter, posted on the Intel website in mid-December, read: “Our investors and customers have inquired whether Intel purchases goods or services from the Xinjiang region of China. Multiple governments have imposed restrictions on products sourced from the Xinjiang region. Therefore, Intel is required to ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.”
In an apparent response to the negative online feedback, the letter has since been revised with a version that omits all references to Xinjiang and China, reported Reuters. According to the updated version, Intel forbids “any human trafficked or involuntary labor such as forced, debt bonded, prison, indentured, or slave labor throughout your extended supply chains.”
Intel issued an apology on Weibo on Dec. 23, saying that the letter did not represent its position on Xinjiang and was composed to “comply with U.S. law.”
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, signed by U.S. President Biden on the same day Intel apologized, bans all Xinjiang imports from entering the U.S. due to alleged human rights violations against the Uyghur Muslims, as NextShark previously reported.
After Intel issued an apology, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the company to “respect facts” about Xinjiang, reported Bloomberg.
“The so-called forced labor claim is totally fabricated by anti-China forces in the U.S. to harm China’s reputation,” Zhao said. “The products manufactured in Xinjiang are good quality, and companies will suffer a loss if they refuse to use Xinjiang produced products.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who introduced a version of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act last year, blasted Intel for revising its letter.
“Intel’s cowardice is yet another predictable consequence of economic reliance on China,” Rubio was quoted as saying. “Instead of humiliating apologies and self-censorship, companies should move their supply chains to countries that do not use slave labor or commit genocide.”
Featured Image via Intel Newsroom