A BYD car-carrier ship.

Last year, Chinese automaker BYD clinched a deal to take over Ford Motor’s factory in Bahia, Brazil, after Ford decided to withdraw from the Brazilian market. BYD is already the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles, and the move into Brazil is an effort to further consolidate its early conquest of EV markets in the Global South.

Yangshan deep water port in Shanghai.

The consequences of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s intention to double down on China’s manufacturing prowess to boost growth has attracted a lot of discourse. But it’s important to understand that excess capacity has a political logic within the Chinese system that is fundamental to the country’s governance model.

A factory of Chinese automaker Zeekr.

In response to the success of Chinese electric vehicle, or EV, exports, the U.S. and Europe have opened investigations into Chinese automakers, focusing on aspects of the competition that are deemed unfair or unsafe. But another reason for concern over imports of Chinese-made EVs is so far neglected: human rights violations.

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