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9 Feb 2024

South China Morning Post

China: German chemicals producer BASF to divest from two joint ventures in Xinjiang over allegations of human rights abuses

German chemical giant BASF will divest from two joint ventures in China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, following reports that its business partners were involved in human rights abuses.

“Recently published reports related to the joint-venture partner contain serious allegations that indicate activities inconsistent with BASF’s values. Consequently, BASF will accelerate the ongoing process to divest its shares,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Friday afternoon.

The company said it had conducted its own “regular due diligence measures including internal and external audits” which had not uncovered “any evidence of human rights violations in the two joint ventures”.


The divestment is “subject to negotiations and required approvals of the relevant authorities”, the company said, adding that its China business “remains otherwise unchanged, and the company is fully committed to its business activities and planned investments in the country”.

BASF had been subjected to a pressure campaign urging it to exit Xinjiang, following a joint investigation published last week in the German media outlets ZDF and Der Spiegel finding that its joint venture partner, Xinjiang Markor Chemical Industry, had accompanied Chinese government officials on visits to the homes of Uygur employees.


Part of the following timelines

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang