Chip manufacturer Intel has removed references to the Chinese province of Xinjiang in a letter issued to suppliers around the world after Chinese backlash. The manufacturer had apologised last month for any 'trouble' it has caused and said that it was simply complying with US sanctions which prohibit products from the province rather than making any political statement, a Wall Street Journal report said.
Last month, Intel was slammed on Chinese social media for a letter to suppliers published on its website. The December 23 letter said Intel had been "required to ensure that its supply chain does not use any labour or source goods or services from the Xinjiang region" following restrictions imposed by "multiple governments".
Following backlash, the reference to Xinjiang has been removed and replaced with a paragraph stating: "...Any human trafficked or involuntary labour such as forced, debt bonded, prison, indentured, or slave labour throughout your extended supply chains."
The United States had imposed heavy trade sanctions on China in the month of December, cracking down on products imported from Xinjiang, where the US says thousands of Uighur Chinese are being forced to labour under inhumane conditions in camps.
"Intel's cowardice is yet another predictable consequence of economic reliance on China," US Senator Marco Rubio said in a statement on Monday. "Instead of humiliating apologies and self-censorship, companies should move their supply chains to countries that do not use slave labour or commit genocide."
US President Joe Biden had signed the Uighur Forced Labour Prevention Act on December 23 last year after pressure from US lawmakers and senators. China however has denied all allegations and vowed retaliation against what it has described as US theatrics on the world political stage.