5 February 2022

Open Letter to the Burton Corporation

Burton Corporation
Mr. John Lacy, CEO
180 Industrial Parkway
Burlington, VT 05401

Dear Mr. Lacy,

We are writing in response to seeing the BBC News interview on 1-18-22 with Craig Smith, CEO of Burton Snowboards, China. We are appalled. It is truly unthinkable that a bright man as he obviously is, with years in China, evidently, would be so easily manipulated by the CCP to put profit over the ongoing atrocities committed against millions of China’s own citizens. Are we truly so desensitized as a corporate culture to the cries of our fellow human beings, so soon after the Holocaust? Please do not let it be so.

Mr. Smith initially feigned a lack of knowledge about the Uyghur genocide, then walked that back as he was asked directly if he’d seen news stories about it, responding with: “…everyone has, I believe.” Is Burton’s position truly a complete indifference to matters of gross human rights violations so well documented internationally? Is not Burton’s position in fact complicit with what the CCP is doing by choosing to ignore the truth and pushing ahead with the masquerade that all is well in the region and to come play in the snow?

The interviewer brought up a portion of the statement on Burton’s website regarding positive change and creating ripples. The site specifically states: “If we want to continue having fun in the mountains, we must focus on positively impacting our people, planet and sport.” Additionally, the site reads: “We believe in ….sourcing our products responsibly, and driving justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.…It’s our goal to impact the world positively….”

How much do you really believe this? If it’s more than a bunch of words to check off the “politically correct” boxes on a site, then your actions can speak loudest now.

Mr. Smith mentions meeting people in the Uyghur homeland who were ‘fabulous people’. Did he meet Uyghurs in his business dealings as counterparts? Highly unlikely – at least not Uyghurs who were free to speak their minds. Uyghurs are considered sub-human by their government and that’s why they are able to be indiscriminately rounded up and put away in detention camps, from which thousands and thousands have never been seen again. Mr. Smith’s dealings in China are no doubt entirely with Han Chinese as well as hand-picked Uyghurs and Kazakhs forced to serve as politically correct government spokespeople.

Together with all those who care for justice for the peoples in Northwest China, we urge Burton to use its significant platform, now more than ever during the Olympics, to stop being a CCP pawn. For a quick overview of the five-year long atrocities against humanity still happening in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, also known as Eastern Turkestan, here are a few facts:

The Uyghurs (pronounced “wee-gurs”) and other ethnic Muslim minority peoples, are being targeted by their own government — a massive internment of nearly 2 million. As you may know, the US government (both current and previous administrations) officially recognize them as victims of genocide.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is committing crimes against humanity, including a massive system of Uyghur forced labor.

As you may know, high quality data uncovered by researchers, academics, journalists and others specializing in China's ethnic policy, reveals that more than 1.8 million Uyghurs have been arbitrarily detained in an extensive secret network of internment camps (out of a total population of approximately 12 million).

Despite the Chinese government's continued propaganda (calling them “vocational training facilities”) irrefutable evidence, discovered on China's own government websites, confirms their massive scale and Orwellian nature — true modern-day concentration camps, where torture, starvation, forced sterilization, mysterious medical treatments, gang rape, organ harvesting and more occurs.

This appalling situation should alarm us on many levels, not the least of which is China's ever expanding economic role on the world stage. Their political aims are far broader than their own country, and if the business and government leaders and others in the United States are unwilling to speak out now about what is happening to China's own citizens, we can fully expect to see similar scenarios play out in the future, wherever the Chinese government has a foothold.

By appealing to people of influence like you we hope to ignite the collective conscience now. We hope you share our urgency to stop engaging the CCP in their relentless quest for economic strength at any cost, and to alert the world to the unmistakable parallels between this mass internment / forced labor campaign and the tragic Nazi period. By taking action now, is it possible to envision a climate whereby these crimes will no longer be tolerated, and the possibility of another Holocaust averted?

We are asking you to do everything in your power to not allow Burton to be found complicit in any way that allows the Chinese Communist Party to continue their campaign to destroy Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.

Please give your full support and use your company’s leverage to bring this crisis to an end. We appeal to you to thoroughly investigate your supply chain and to refuse to be complicit in any form of forced labor. And to discontinue playing into the CCP’s charade of marketing the Uyghur and Kazakh homeland as a winter playground – in the very province where more than 400 detention centers currently house countless thousands of innocent men and women. Consumers are watching and expecting more from our business leaders. Please lead well.


Nathan Duddles, Silk Road Peace Project
Bill Clark, NW Director, Peace Catalyst International
Julie Clark, Peace Catalyst International
Bruce Garner, Christian Coalition for Uyghur Freedom

96 verified
  1. Wesley Prindle, Minneapolis
  2. Freya Putt, Kelowna, Canada
  3. Marisa Edmondson, Digital Assistant, J Street, Washington DC
  4. Gary Dyck, Executive Director, Mennonite Heritage Village, Steinbach
  5. Katherine Rhoda, musician, Hiram, ME, USA
  6. Nina L Evans, Indianapolis
  7. Chris Nobis, physician, Turner, OR
  8. Benjamin Schultz, Church Office Administrator, Warsaw, NY
  9. Kate Rock, Retired, Brooklyn
  10. Martha Waltz, Educator, Staunton
  11. Sonia Bishop, Educator, Ocala
  12. Melissa C Trimble, Wilmore
  13. Cathy Cowles, Consultant, Durango, CO
  14. Sarah Cobb, Retired, Albuquerque
  15. David Arkin, Architect, avid snowboarder (Vapor #5), Albany, CA
  16. Kate Clark, Yoga teacher, Blind Spot Yoga, Sonoma
  17. Chris Lonneville, Business owner, Rochester
  18. Sharon Weber, Registered Nurse, Warsaw
  19. Ershad Mametyarov, Procurement Manager, Almaty
  20. Paul Schultz, Salesman, Rochester
  21. Sonja Larsen, Owner, Liquid Alaska, Anchorage, AK
  22. Cairn Mahoney, Edinburgh
  23. Stevan Harrell, Retired Professor, China Studies, University of Washington, Bellingham, WA
  24. Howard Simon, IT Consultant, Seattle
  25. Art Nicklaus, Retired, Tacoma
  26. Gheyret Tohti, IT Professional, Columbus
  27. Eamonn Maddick, IT professional, Gateshead
  28. Sheldon Stone, Retired doctor, NHS, London
  29. Håkon Dahle, Researcher, Oslo
  30. David Rawlins, Graphics Designer, Dudley
  31. Michael Friedland, Rabbi, Sinai Synagogue, South Bend
  32. Philip Kretzmar, Retired, Ottawa
  33. Rebecca Arat, Harvard, Cambridge
  34. William Forbes, Humanitarian, Seattle
  35. Dilnur Reyhan, President, European Uyghur Institute, Paris
  36. Leon Kraiem, Researcher, New York
  37. Jonathan Summers, Educator, Toronto
  38. Stacey Helvey, Teacher, Vienna, VA
  39. Yasmin Rei, Logistics Manager, London
  40. Nicole Izsak, Jewish movement for Uyghur freedom, New York City
  41. Justin Duddles, Artist, Colorado Springs
  42. Andreas Fulda, Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, Nottingham
  43. Yonah Diamond, International Human Rights Lawyer, Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Montreal
  44. Adil Obol, Student, Bergen
  45. DenizCapan, Student, Ottawa
  46. Izdinix
  47. John Jeffery, Founder, Urban Growth, Toronto
  48. Piroska, IT, NONE, LA
  49. Hugh Counsell, Director, London
  50. Josephine Gardiner Ross, Writer, PENZANCE
  51. Matthew Slisher, Faculty/Ministry Director, Elim Bible Institute and College, Lima, NY
  52. Michael Richardson, Lecturer, Newcastle University, Newcastle
  53. Nikolai Llewellyn, Solicitor, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  54. Michael A Wright, Clergy, The Episcopal Church, Longview, WA
  55. William S. Cunningham DDS, Oral Surgeon, Personal, Santa Cruz
  56. Lich Pham, Doctor, Spokane
  57. Ann Lau, Chair, Visual Artists Guild, Los Angeles
  58. Simon Billenness, Executive Director, No Business With Genocide, Washington, DC
  59. Sean R. Roberts, Professor, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
  60. Dru C. Gladney, Professor, Pomona College, Claremont
  61. Ira McBee, Photographer, Seattle
  62. Serena Oberstein, Executive Director, Jewish World Watch, Los Angeles
  63. Adrian Zenz, Senior Fellow in China Studies, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Washington, DC
  64. Rachel McCullough, Chinese Translator, Freelance, Glasgow
  65. Lhadon Tethong, Director, Tibet Action Institute, Boston
  66. Mia Hasenson-Gross, Executive Director, René Cassin, London
  67. Hanno Schedler, Advisor, Society for Threatened Peoples, Goettingen
  68. Magnus Fiskesjö, Associate professor, Cornell University, Ithaca
  69. Rushan Abbas, Executive Director, Campaign For Uyghurs, Washington DC
  70. Gul Berna Ozcan, PhD, Reader in International Business and Entrepreneurship, University of London, London
  71. Alicia Hennig, Deputy Professor, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden
  72. David O'Brien, Lecturer, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum
  73. Aina Shormanbayeva, President, International Legal Initiative, Almaty
  74. Rachel Harris, Professor, SOAS University of London, London
  75. Philippa MacDonald, Teacher, London
  76. Dr Joanne Smith Finley, University lecturer, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  77. Katherine MacDonald, Nurse, Manchester
  78. Heather Wanstall, Retired teacher, London
  79. John David Wanstall, Retired teacher, London
  80. Coleman Houser, Member Care, FUSA, Chiang Mai
  81. Ewen MacDonald, Artist, London
  82. Mary September, Music teacher, Lynnwood
  83. Jan Aijian, Metal artist, Arroyo Grande
  84. Stephen Watts, Tech Support, Houston
  85. Nechama Liss-Levinson, Psychologist, Adas Israel Congregation Uyghur Crisis Response Team, Washington DC
  86. Roberta Kjesrud, Educator, Bellingham
  87. Stephanie Slisher, Registered Nurse, University of Rochester, Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, NY
  88. Greg Kopan, EPC, Cleveland
  89. Omer Kanat, Executive Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project, Washington, DC
  90. Diane Summers, Shoreline
  91. Steve Porter, Seattle
  92. Elfidar Iltebir, Secretary General, Uyghur American Association, FAIRFAX
  93. Jessica Ketola, Pastor, The Practicing Church, Shoreline
  94. David Ketola, Pastoral counseling, The Practicing Church, Shoreline
  95. Ned Abenroth, Illuman of Washington, Seattle
  96. Ron Bachmann, All Nations Centre, Edmonton
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