The below article was published by The Hill, photo credit: The Hill
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday called on Airbnb to delist some properties in China’s Xinjiang region that are located on land owned by an organization previously sanctioned by the U.S.
The senator sent a letter to Airbnb after an Axios investigation found the company had more than a dozen rental properties on land owned by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).
XPCC was sanctioned by the Trump administration due to human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in the region.
“By maintaining these listings, Airbnb is complicit in enriching an organization facilitating horrific human rights abuse and risks violating U.S. sanction law that prohibits such transactions from occurring,” Rubio wrote to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
Airbnb told Axios that it has made roughly $6,500 from the properties at issue in the past year. The company also said that it has vetted all parties it has worked with.
“How a paramilitary organization complicit in heinous human rights abuses could pass such a screen is beyond comprehension. By continuing to allow these listings, Airbnb is implicitly endorsing and encouraging travel to Xinjiang, a region host to an ongoing genocide,” Rubio stated.
The U.S. and other countries have labeled China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslims a genocide, with the U.S. staging a diplomatic boycott against the 2022 Beijing Olympics in protest of China’s human rights violations.
Airbnb is one of the 14 top-level sponsors for the Beijing Olympics. In his letter, Rubio called on the company to step down from that role as well.
“Airbnb should back up its prior statements with regard to its support for human rights and immediately delist rental properties in XPCC-owned land, publicly acknowledge the CCP’s ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious groups, and withdraw its support for the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing,” Rubio concluded.
The Hill has reached out to Airbnb for comment.