China attacks Xinjiang over foreign clothing, shoe brands

BEIJING (AP) – China’s ruling Communist Party is cracking down on H&M and other clothing and footwear brands as it seeks to avenge Western sanctions on Chinese officials accused of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region.

The attacks began when the party’s Youth League on Wednesday focused on H&M’s statement on its social media account in March 2020 that it would stop buying cotton from Xinjiang in northwestern China. The Swedish retailer also said in the words of some other brands that it was “deeply concerned” about reports of forced labor there.

On Thursday, a party newspaper called the Global Times quoted Barberry, Adidas, Nike and New Balance as saying it had made “cutting remarks” about Xinjiang cotton just two years ago. A separate report from the Global Times, in a statement issued by Zara, said it had a “zero-tolerance approach to forced labor”.

Celebrities, including popular singer and actor Wang Yibo, have announced that they are breaking support agreements with H&M and Nike.

Beijing is often forced to adapt its official position on foreign wear, travel toe, travel and other brands by actions taken by their governments or on Taiwan, Tibet and other sensitive issues.

Companies generally apologize and will change websites or advertising to maintain maintain access to the Chinese populated market. But Xinjiang is an unusually thorny issue. Western brands face pressure at home to keep themselves away from possible abuse.

According to foreign researchers and governments, more than 1 million people in Xinjiang, most of them belonging to predominantly Muslim ethnic groups, are confined to work camps, according to foreign researchers and governments. Beijing denies abusing him and says it is trying to promote economic growth and curb extremism.

On Monday, the 27-nation European Union, the United States, Britain and Canada jointly announced travel and financial sanctions on four senior Chinese officials convicted of misconduct in Xinjiang.

Beijing responded by saying it would impose indefinite fines on European legislators and German researchers who leaked information about detention camps.

H&M said in a statement last March that it had stopped licensing Xinjiang cotton, citing a decision by the industry group Better Cotton Initiative to promote environmental and labor standards because it was “increasingly difficult” to find out how it was produced. In September, H&M announced it would stop working with a Chinese manufacturer accused of using forced labor in a unit not affiliated with the Swedish brand.

In January, Washington Washington banned garment manufacturers from importing cotton from Xinjiang, a major supplier to Western markets.

China’s official aggression is centered on Europe, probably because relations with the EU have been more cordial than those with Washington over trade disputes and allegations of Chinese espionage and technological theft.

H&M’s facial criticism reflected that tone of complaint hurting a friend.

“How can H&M eat Chinese rice and then break the pot of China?” State television said in a comment on Wednesday.

On its social media account, the H&M group said the company “does not represent any political orientation” and “respects Chinese customers.”

The company said it “deals with make 35000 Chinese manufacturers to make products that adhere to the principles of chinchilla development.” H&M said it is “committed to long-term investment and development in China.”

On Thursday, H&M products went missing from China’s two most popular retline retailers, Alibaba Group’s TML and News reports say he was fired because of public criticism of Xinjiang’s statement. A spokesman for Alibaba and JD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Internet users pointed to clothing brands such as Unicolo of Japan and The Gap of the United States as other potential culprits. It was not clear how many of them were members of the Hisab people and how many were run by the ruling party’s vast propaganda machinery.

Pop star Wang Yibo’s announcement that he is leaving Nike as a “brand ambassador” does not mention Xinjiang. He said he “firmly resists any words and actions that pollute China.”

Singer and actress Song Quan, a former member of the Korean pop group F (X), also known as Victoria Song, and others, including actor Huang Xuan, have announced that they will end their endorsement agreement with H&M. Actress Tang Songyu said she is breaking up with Nike.

Chinese athletic shoe brand ANT announced that it is exiting BCI, the industry cotton group.