After the H&M clothing series, Nike is now also under fire in China, as the US sports brand no longer uses cotton from China’s Xinjiang province due to concerns about forced labor. On Chinese social media, people are encouraging each other to stop buying Nike products and videos appear of people burning their shoes.
The uproar began after Chinese youth organizations angrily addressed Western companies in remarks. “Do you want to make money in China while spreading false rumors and intersecting Xinjiang’s cotton?” Wise thinkingAnother organization called H&M’s statements on the subject “ignorant and arrogant.”
However, it probably won’t stop at mere criticism. For some unclear reason, the H&M name can no longer be found on the important e-commerce platform of the Chinese web store group Alibaba. H&M China has already released a brief statement due to the hype. In it, the company assures that it does not take a political stance.
The development is notable because Western companies have not recently announced that they are cutting ties with cotton producers from Xinjiang. The messages the Chinese are replying to have been on corporate websites for quite some time. So the measures appear to be a response to recent international developments: On Monday, the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on China for human rights violations.
China has been accused for years of suppressing the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, an important cotton region. Human rights activists and UN experts say, among others, that Uyghurs are imprisoned, tortured, sterilized in camps, and forced into forced labor.
The Beijing government denies this, claiming that Uyghur extremists and terrorists are being “re-educated” in the camps.