US officials estimate that up to three million ethnic Muslims are being held in concentration camps in the region, separated from their families and stripped of their human rights.
Goldwind is one of Xinjiang’s most famous exports. By most estimates, it is either the largest, or the second largest, maker of wind turbines in the world. The company has wind turbines on virtually every continent on earth, and dominates the domestic market in China.
Still headquartered in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, Goldwind has, for three decades, embarked on an inexorable march towards global dominance that matches any of China’s more famous exports. Yet the renewables titan has so far avoided the same level of international scrutiny as the likes of Huawei or the China National Nuclear Corporation, despite having its own troubling past.
Goldwind is publicly listed in both Hong Kong and Shenzen, where the vast majority of the group’s largest shareholders are companies owned and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Interviews with half a dozen former and current executives at the company revealed an ambitious organisation with a direct line to the Communist party, while experts who study Xinjiang say there is no way for a company as large as Goldwind to wash its hands of the atrocities being committed against the region’s ethnic minorities.
Goldwind’s rise has mirrored its homeland’s. In the early Eighties, China was solely reliant on coal, with no renewable energy sector. The country, however, was undergoing a radical transformation, spurred on by leader Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. It was under these conditions that the country’s embryonic wind sector sprung to life.