Intel removes reference associated with Xinjiang Region

Chipmaker titan Intel has recently removed from an annual letter directed to suppliers information referenced to China’s Xinjiang region following criticism for demanding suppliers to steer clear from the region.

Only last month, the U.S.-based company was criticized on social media platforms in China for the letter sent to suppliers – published on the company’s website.

On December 23, Intel was “required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.” This came after the U.S. imposed restrictions structured by “multiple governments” on certain tech companies.

According to Reuters’ review of the letter on Tuesday, the only indication related to Xinjiang or China has been removed. Now, it only states that Intel is inconceivably against “any human trafficked or involuntary labor such as debt bonded, prison, indentured, or slave labor throughout your extended supply chains.”

When asked for comment, Intel did not immediately respond to Reuters.

Last month, the Santa-Clara-based chipmaker apologized for the “trouble” caused on its behalf, emphasizing its devotion to evade any supply chains from the Chinese region, highlighting that its “commitment to avoid” the chain was merely a way to indicate its full compliance with American laws, instead of it being an official statement on its stance on the matter.

Intel is not the only tech company receiving backlash for its probable association with Xinjiang. Multinational companies have also faced scrutiny as they sought to abide by Xinjiang-related trade sanctions while maintaining operation in China – one of these companies’ most lucrative markets.

Washington has repeatedly accused China of breaching basic human rights in Xinjiang, as well as forced labor.

Beijing has refuted these claims repeatedly.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has openly criticized Intel on Monday for its reference to the region – which is principally inhabited by Muslim Uyghurs – saying, “Intel’s cowardice is yet another predictable consequence of economic reliance on China.”

“Instead of humiliating apologies and self-censorship, companies should move their supply chains to countries that do not use slave labor or commit genocide,” he added.

Four U.S. senators expressed their discontent with the genocide taking place in the Chinese region, which led to the introduction of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.