Intel: On second thought, never mind about China's genocide

Intel: On second thought, never mind about China's genocide
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich delivers a keynote speech at CES International Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Surprised? Don’t be; Intel is hardly the first American-based firm to discover that access to Xi Jinping’s markets is its “core.” However, it’s still worth noting in the context of credibility when it comes to corporate social-justice campaigns.

After all, what’s a little genocide between friends?

In mid-December, Intel published a letter to its global suppliers on its website, calling on its business partners to avoid sourcing from the northwestern Chinese region, where the Chinese government has conducted a campaign of forcible assimilation against ethnic Muslim minorities.

Within days, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company was denounced by Chinese social-media users and state-run media for cutting business dealings with the region, while one of its China brand ambassadors pulled out in protest. The chip maker apologized on Dec. 23 on its Chinese social-media accounts, adding that the letter was written to comply with U.S. law and didn’t represent its position on Xinjiang.

A Wall Street Journal check of the same webpage and supplier letter on Jan. 10 found that the company had erased any reference to Xinjiang there. Previously, Intel had written in the letter viewed on Dec 23: “Our investors and customers have inquired whether Intel purchases goods or services from the Xinjiang region of China. Multiple governments have imposed restrictions on products sourced from the Xinjiang region. Therefore, Intel is required to ensure our supply chain does not use any labor or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region.” The Jan. 10 version didn’t carry that wording.

Intel had already debased itself in a groveling apology to the Xi regime two days before Christmas. This amounts to an attempt at rewriting history, a practice that Intel and other US corporations will need to practice when the Xi regime collapses and the extent of their genocidal depravities become more widely known. Collaborators with the regime will have to answer for their cooperation at that point, and more.

‘These well-documented reversals will look particularly damning at that point. Intel, Disney, the NBA, and more can’t pretend that they didn’t know about the concentration camps in Xinjiang and the attempts to eliminate the Uighurs. The record will be plain, and it will be damning indeed.

Given the sell-outs to Xi by tech giants Google, Microsoft, and Apple and the entire Hollywood industry (among many others), Intel’s moral cowardice is as predictable as it is execrable. Still, it’s worth noting for later context when these same corporations engage in social-cultural lectures on the nature of justice and history in the US. If our corporate sector rewrites history to pander to a genocidal tyrant like Xi, they have zero credibility to scold their American customers over anything.

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