BP: Backing Persecution in Tibet, East Turkestan and Sudan
On March 23, 2000 BP bailed out PetroChina from a near disastrous initial showing on the New York Stock Exchange, and invested $578 million in the Chinese oil company. This investment made BP the largest foreign investor in PetroChina. BP, whose total investment in China stands at more than $3.5 billion, is now the largest foreign player in China’s oil industry. PetroChina represents approximately 15 percent of BP's total investment in the Chinese oil industry. It is only this 15 percent that rights groups are calling on BP to withdraw.
As the top investor in PetroChina, BP is profiting from China’s pillaging of Tibet’s natural resources and the consolidation of Chinese control in the region. In addition, hundreds of millions in profits have gone from PetroChina to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) which owns 90% of PetroChina and is directly involved in ongoing human rights abuses in Sudan.
BP’s potential influence with PetroChina is unrivaled, yet BP has said that they “have no influence with PetroChina management”. After nine months of fruitless dialogue and negotiations with BP, human rights, labor, national security, and environmental organizations are all calling on BP to divest from PetroChina.
BP is conducting a massive PR campaign holding itself out as a good corporate citizen, symbolized by the new logo; Tibetans, East Turkestani Uyghurs, and the Southern Sudanese are getting a different message. Put simply, BP has yet to explain how it can partner with China in exploiting oil from occupied lands while respecting human rights.
As long as BP remains invested in PetroChina, BP continues Backing Persecution.