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China Calls Charges Carmakers Have Ties to Forced Labor ‘Smears’

  • Foreign Ministry says workers, ethnic groups are protected
  • U.S. earlier sanctioned people, entities over Xinjiang links
Zhao Lijian

Zhao Lijian

Photographer: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

China hit back at a U.S. research report that said major automakers such as BMW AG and General Motors Co. have links to controversial labor programs in the Asian nation, escalating a dispute over Beijing’s activities in Xinjiang.

“Those U.S. researchers’ conclusions are nothing but ill-intentioned smears against China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday at a regular press briefing in the capital. He added that the government of the world’s No. 2 economy protects the rights of workers and that people of all ethnic groups benefit from economic development.