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A visitor tests and sits in a Tesla model S during the 2021 International Motor Expo in Hong Kong. Photo: Chukrut Budrul/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tesla has opened a showroom in China's Xinjiang region, the province where the Chinese government has been accused of carrying out genocide against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities.

Why it matters: Human rights advocates panned Tesla's decision, which comes weeks after President Biden signed into law a bill banning imports from Xinjiang unless there's "clear and convincing evidence" that they weren't made with forced labor, and imposing sanctions on those responsible for the forced labor.

  • Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as a number of foreign parliaments, have recognized the government's campaign of mass detention, surveillance, forced labor and forced sterilization against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.

State of play: Tesla announced the opening of the new showroom in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi on a post on Weibo on Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • "In 2022, let us together launch Xinjiang on its electric journey!" Tesla wrote in the post, per the Journal.
  • This is not the start of Tesla's presence in Xinjiang, where it has previously installed several charging stations for its electric vehicles, per Bloomberg.

Human rights and advocacy groups have decried Tesla's decision.

  • The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the nation's most prominent Muslim advocacy groups, issued a statement Tuesday calling for Tesla to close the showroom.
  • "No American corporation should be doing business in a region that is the focal point of a campaign of genocide targeting a religious and ethnic minority,” Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's National Communications Director, said in the statement.
  • Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), condemned the news via Twitter, saying, "I'll be blunt: Any company doing business in Xinjiang is complicit in the cultural genocide taking place there. But Tesla's actions are especially despicable."

The big picture: The Department of Commerce added several Chinese research institutes and tech companies to an export blacklist for developing technologies that China can use to repress minorities.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 14, 2022 - World

HRW criticizes Biden over "mixed signals" on human rights

Photo: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Human Rights Watch criticized President Biden and other leaders of democratic nations for sending "mixed signals" on human rights in its annual World Report published on Thursday, saying they "are not meeting the challenges before them."

Why it matters: Though Biden pledged to put human rights at the center of his foreign policy, HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth wrote that weapon sales to repressive governments and public reticence on certain human rights violations place those promises in question.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.