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China pressures brands to reject Xinjiang abuse allegations

BEIJING (AP) – China on Monday stepped up pressure on foreign footwear and clothing brands to deny reports of abuses in Xinjiang, saying it was looking more closely at companies targeted by Beijing-targeted boycotts, citing someone who said he had not found work. ,

H&M, Nike, Adidas and other brands have been embroiled in controversy over Xinjiang after Western governments imposed sanctions on Chinese officials accused of abuse. State media have called for a boycott of H&M over the use of Xinjiang cotton, and criticized other brands for expressing concern over reports of forced labor.

“Once the stick of sanctions on Xinjiang is stuck in your head, it will hit you in the head as well,” Xu Guichang, spokesman for the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, told a news conference in Beijing.

According to foreign government researchers, more than 1 million members of other predominantly Muslim Uyghur ethnic minorities are confined to Xinjiang camps in northwest China. Authorities there are accused of using coercive labor and enforcing birth control measures.

The Chinese government rejects allegations of abuse, saying the camps are designed to train workers to support economic development and fight Islamic extremism.

H&M should “seriously consider this issue,” Syun said.

“Where did you get this evidence?” “It will be some false scholars or distorted reports or so-called testimonies,” Sun said. “Many of these people are malicious. “They just want to destabilize Xinjiang.”

The attacks began when the ruling party’s Youth League released a statement from H&M last Wednesday. State television called for a boycott of Swedish retail. Official media outlets have criticized Nike, Adidas, Uniqlo and Burberry for raising concerns about forced labor reports in Xinjiang.

It came after the United States, the 27-nation European Union, Britain and Canada announced on March 22 the travel and financial sanctions of four Chinese officials accused of abuse. Beijing has retaliated by imposing similar sanctions on European-British officials, lawmakers and researchers.

H&M products have disappeared from major Chinese e-commerce platforms, but other brands were still available on Monday. Apps for H&M, Adidas և Nike smartphones were absent from major Chinese department stores on Monday.

The Communist Party often pressures foreign clothing, travel, and other brands for the actions of their governments or to force them to take a stand on Taiwan, Tibet, or other sensitive issues.

Much of this is due to the fact that China is one of the fastest growing markets in the world of fashion, electronics and other consumer brands.

Another government spokesman, Elijan Anayat, cited a statement by the Skechers USA, Inc. sports shoe brand that it could not find evidence from an Australian think tank that a Chinese supplier could use forced labor.

The supplier, Dong Guan Lu Zhou Shoes, confirmed that part of its workforce was Uyghurs, but said they would be free to leave, according to Skechers. It says the company has conducted numerous supplier audits since 2017 և “has no reason to believe that Lu Zhu is using any forced labor.”

“I believe that they will be valued by Chinese customers, they will gain bigger (market) shares,” said Elijan Anayat.

The announcement in March last year quoted the Better Cotton Initiative, an industry group, as promising to suspend environmental workforce licensing from Xinjiang as it was difficult to determine how it was produced.

Japanese private retailer MUJI and sneaker maker FILA say they will continue to buy cotton from Xinjiang. FILA China said last week that it had begun the process of exiting BCI.

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