Intel deleted all reference to Xinjiang in a letter to suppliers last month after Chipmaker was criticized by Chinese social media users for asking its partners not to get goods from the region on human rights violations by Beijing.
Intel said on its social media account that Xinjiang’s reference to a US mid-December letter to suppliers published on the company’s website was aimed at following US regulations.
Washington has blocked imports of goods from Xinjiang over human rights violations against Uighur Muslims, including mass arrests, forced abortions and forced labor.
The ruling Communist Party has denied the allegation.
The letter caused severe backlash from government-run Chinese media and social media users, According to the Wall Street Journal.
The indication for the angry suppliers was initially: “Our investors and customers inquire whether Intel buys goods or services from the Xinjiang region of China. Multiple governments have imposed restrictions on products from the Xinjiang region. Therefore, Intel needs to ensure that our supply chain does not use any labor or basic goods or services from the Xinjiang region.
But the updated version of the letter from Intel’s website makes no mention of Xinjiang.
The post reached out to Intel seeking comment.
A company spokesperson told the Journal on Monday that the tech giant “recently made a statement in China to address concerns raised by our stakeholders about how we communicate certain legal requirements and policies with our global supplier network.”
On December 23, Intel posted an apology on its Chinese social media accounts. The letter was published to comply with US laws and does not represent the company’s position in Xinjiang, it said.
A law banning the import of goods from Xinjiang was signed on the same day as President Joe Biden’s signature.
The Biden administration has said that the Chinese government’s actions in Xinjiang are equivalent to genocide. China has condemned the law.
Despite the government’s human rights record, American companies have been criticized at home for continuing business in China, particularly with regard to its actions in Xinjiang.
Human rights activists have urged US companies to boycott the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Beijing on February 4.
Intel is one of several companies that sponsor games, including Coca-Cola and Samsung.
Last month, the Biden administration announced a diplomatic boycott after the White House cited “excessive human rights violations and atrocities.”
Diplomatic boycott means no American official attends official Olympic events, such as opening and closing ceremonies. US athletes will still have the opportunity to compete.
Despite US public opinion, some of America’s biggest brand names continue to strengthen their ties with China.
Elon Musk’s electric car maker Tesla recently opened a showroom in Xinjiang. The company announced the launch of its official account on Weibo in a December 31 blog post, similar to China’s Twitter.
Chinese government officials slammed Walmart and its wholesale chain Sam’s Club last month, claiming retailers were “stupid” who reportedly pulled goods from the country’s shops in Xinjiang province.