Democrats question Airbnb over Xinjiang rentals on land owned by sanctioned group


Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) And Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) Raised concerns about Airbnb’s business activities in China’s Xinjiang region in a letter Friday to the CEO of the company.

Why is this important: An Axios investigation last year found that Airbnb had more than a dozen homes available for rent in Xinjiang on land owned by an organization sanctioned by the US government for complicity in genocide and forced labor against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the region.

Catch up quickly: Axios has identified 14 Airbnb listings on land owned by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a large paramilitary organization that controls large swathes of land, natural resources, and the economy of Xinjiang and has been sanctioned by the Treasury Department American.

  • Airbnb, one of 14 high profile sponsors of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, said it believes the sanction does not apply to those announcements.
  • Merkley and McGovern are respectively chairman and co-chairman of the Congressional Executive Committee on China, which was established in 2000 to oversee human rights and the development of the rule of law in the country.

What they say : “We write to express our concerns about Airbnb’s business activities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and to raise questions about Airbnb’s commitment to human rights and peace. fights discrimination in China as it sponsors the Beijing Winter Olympics, ”Merkley and McGovern wrote in a letter to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.

  • “Although Airbnb continues to maintain listings in the XUAR, it has not publicly condemned the continued genocide taking place there, or other gross and systematic human rights violations perpetrated against ethnic minorities in China.” , they added.
  • “It also continues to operate in a country whose laws require guests to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, place of origin or lack of a passport, when the possibility of obtaining a passport may be. impossible for people of certain ethnic groups. “

The big picture: Lawmakers have asked the company to reveal whether it is taking action to address human rights violations in Xinjiang and China in general.

  • They also questioned whether the company would ensure that no future listings are located on property owned by XPCC or other US Treasury sanctioned entities.
  • Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Criticized Airbnb in a letter sent to the company in December, saying it “implicitly approves and encourages travel to Xinjiang, a region host to an ongoing genocide” by continuing to authorize registrations.

Go further: Airbnb hosts rentals in Xinjiang on land owned by sanctioned group


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