A number of supply-chain auditing firms say they will no longer conduct inspections in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of northwestern China, where state-sponsored efforts to coerce and assimilate predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have rekindled questions about the limits of corporate self-regulation and business-driven social compliance initiatives, particularly in hostile environments ruled by fear.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Bureau Veritas in France, TÜV SÜD of Germany and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) in the United States, which previously performed or participated in labor audits in Xinjiang, will be withdrawing from the region. Italy’s RINA, Social Compliance Services Asia in Hong Kong and U.S.-based Accordia Global Compliance Group and Sumerra also confirmed that their operations will not extend into Xinjiang.
“Normal social compliance audits cannot be conducted in the XUAR due to restrictions on the movement of third-party auditors, including restrictions that prevent the necessary amount of access to factories required for auditors to conduct a satisfactory review,” Seth Lennon, communications manager at WRAP, told Sourcing Journal. “As a result, WRAP is not presently performing audits in the XUAR.”