US Tech Giant Apologizes To China After Telling Suppliers To Avoid Products From Xinjiang

U.S. chipmaker and technology company Intel apologized to its Chinese business partners and customers Thursday after telling its suppliers to avoid sourcing from the Xinjiang region of China.

Intel sent a letter to suppliers earlier this month urging them to avoid products, labor and materials from Xinjiang, home of China’s Uyhgur Muslim minority. The letter, written by Intel’s Jackie Sturm, vice president and general manager of global supply chain operations, said Intel had an expectation that suppliers were “prohibiting any human trafficked or involuntary labor” in their supply chains.

“Multiple governments have imposed restrictions on products sourced from the Xinjiang region,” Sturm wrote. “Therefore, Intel is required to ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.”

Following publication of the letter, Intel received stiff criticism from many Chinese social media users and government-linked actors, The Wall Street Journal reported, including Chinese state-run publication the Global Times who accused Intel of “proving the company’s own innocence under the pressure of the extreme political environment in the US.”

The company issued a statement early Thursday on its Chinese social media accounts apologizing for the letter, and claiming it only wrote to comply with U.S. law.

“We deeply apologize for the confusion caused to our respected Chinese customers, partners and the public,” Intel said, according to the WSJ.

The U.S. has imposed economic sanctions on companies operating in Xinjiang, including export bans. Congress passed a bill last week requiring companies sourcing products from Xinjiang to prove no slave labor was used at any point in the supply chain.

The U.S. Treasury Department also banned investment in certain technology firms allegedly linked to surveillance of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang last week.

Intel did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Ailan Evans