WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- China has been in a tense relationship with Western companies ever since the latter issued concerns over alleged forced labor of Chinese minorities in the country’s cotton production.
- Chinese media blurred appearances of Western brands in TV shows as locals also boycotted Western products.
- Last year, BBC News released a report showing that China was exploiting thousands of minorities to do manual labor in Xinjiang’s cotton fields.
After sharing their concerns about the alleged forced labor of the Uyghur minority in China’s production of cotton products, Western companies earned the ire of Beijing. Recently, many imported brands have been boycotted in the country.
Chinese people expressed their outrage online as celebrities expressed their support for Xinjiang cotton and publicly cut themselves off from Western retailers.
The Chinese media have also shown their support by blurring the logos of those Western brands on clothing and shoes.
This contributed to a funny-looking scene in ‘Sisters Who Make Waves,’ a famous TV show that featured actors and singers who seemed to be floating on clouds since their shoes were blurred out.
The cotton industry was outraged following the US and other western nations’ mounting pressure on China over human rights issues in Xinjiang’s northwest region.
Xinjiang’s cotton campaign started last month. As H&M issued an announcement against the alleged abuse, local state media outlets, as well as Chinese netizens, boycotted the Swedish-based clothing line company. Eventually, the nation also severed links with other Western markets.
Other Western online shops have been blocked as well, while their physical stores were removed from Chinese digital maps.
Members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a non-profit organization that promotes sustainable cotton production, have an ongoing rift with China. Member companies include Adidas, Nike, and Puma.
Last October, the group announced that they halted their operations in Xinjiang, which include providing a cotton license because of the forced labor crisis, referring to “increasing risks” and rising allegations.
In an investigative report released in December, BBC discovered that China was abusing hundreds of thousands of minorities, including the Uyghurs. The minority group was being forced to do manual labor in the cotton fields in Xinjiang.
Source: BBC News