Political fallout over VW executive’s comments about forced labor in China

Auto Shanghai show in Shanghai


As Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt reportedly is in secret talks with Volkswagen about locating a plant in the state, the German-based car-maker faces political fallout over comments made by the head of its Chinese business.

A barrage of criticism was heaped on Volkswagen’s China chief Ralf Brandstaetter who said he saw no sign of forced labor or human rights abuses during a recent visit to the carmaker’s Xinjiang plant.

FILE PHOTO: International Frankfurt Autoshow IAA in Frankfurt


Reuters reported the comment drew immediate angry responses from those who point to the claims of rights groups that documented human rights abuses in Xinjiang since the 2000s. The documentation included mass forced labor in detention camps.

Brandstaetter stood by his comments.

“I can talk to people and draw my conclusions. I can try and verify the facts, and that’s what I did. I didn’t find any contradictions,” he said, adding it was his first visit but not his last reported Reuters.

Oklahoma Gov. Stitt has not admitted publicly that Volkswagen is the company he is holding secret talks with, telling reporters last week the discussions and attempts to lure the big new project could lead to “the largest factory that would be built in Oklahoma ever and one of the largest in the country.”

It is also unclear whether the latest political fallout from the VW executive’s controversial comments will play any role in Stitt’s talks.

The VW revelation was made by the political news website NonDoc as reported earlier in the week by OK Energy Today.

State legislators are keeping their ears close to the ground as the talks continue reported the McCarville Report.