2 April 2021
Amid growing alarm over the genocide of Uyghurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region, young Jewish activists are joining forces across Europe to put a spotlight on major companies complicit in China’s actions.
An international action day, taking place in 8 cities in 4 countries is coordinated by the European Union of Jewish Students’ ‘Never Again, Right Now’ (NARN) campaign.
Taking place on 31 March and 1 April, during the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover), the coordinated direct actions target VW showrooms to shame the company for its involvement in the Uyghur genocide.
The company, founded by the German Nazi Party in 1937, used slave labour on a mass scale, including concentration camp prisoners, during World War Two.
Now, as VW reports soaring profits of over €10bn, there are major concerns that the company is profiting from Uyghur slave labour in the Xinjiang region.
Despite increasingly clear and well-documented evidence of widespread slave labour in the region – and other major companies such as H&M now cutting their ties to Xinjiang supply chains – VW is defending its decision to maintain production in the region.
The action day involves a publicity campaign – with large posters and banners displayed in front of VW showrooms – as well as covering VW showrooms with fake blood to highlight “VW profiting from genocide.”
The actions also correlate with the Global Advocacy Day in the US, where activists mass-call elected officials urging them to co-sponsor legislation on the Uyghur genocide.
EUJS Vice-President and NARN (Never Again Right Now) activist Olaf Stando said:
“Over a million Uyghurs are held in vast, industrial-scale concentration camps in Xinjiang – and if “never again” is to mean anything, we must take action right now.
Too many corporations are now aiding this persecution by maintaining production in the region, likely involving slave labour. It is nothing short of outrageous to profit from genocide – today we say enough is enough.”
In Vienna, JÖH Co-President and NARN activist Sashi Turkof said:
“Fighting against injustice means acknowledging who is responsible for it. Corporations like VW have so much power and are not held accountable for their active support of genocide.”
In Brussels, NARN activist Sacha Guttmann said :
“I would like to highlight the exceptional symbol of the mobilization of so many young Jews around Europe in support of Human Rights and more particularly that of the Uyghurs. This seems to me to be truly representative of the Jewish youth who are standing up in Europe and the world against injustice. These injustices being perceived as incompatible with Jewish identity.”