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Chinese social media charges against H&M over stance on Xinjiang forced labour

Wed 24 March 2021 11:16 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Users on Chinese social media called for fashion retailer H&M to "get out of Chinese market" over a statement the company made in 2020 in relation to the treatment of workers in the Xinjiang area.

H&M said in the statement that it was "deeply concerned by reports from civil society organisations and media that include accusations of forced labour," and that it did not source products from Xinjiang.

The company also said that it has prohibited any type of "forced labor" in its supply chain in Xinjiang, citing human rights concerns.

Angry netizens went to the official Weibo account of H&M to show their outrage. The complaints included comments calling for a boycott on the Swedish brand.

"Spreading rumours to boycott Xinjiang cotton, while also wanting to make money in China? Wishful thinking!" the Communist Youth League, the youth wing of China's ruling party, said in a post on Weibo.

As a result of the uproar, Huang Xuan Studio issued a statement on Wednesday saying that the actor Huang Xuan, who was ambassador for a H&M campaign in China, had terminated the agreement.

The H&M statement has been on its official website for over a year, but only just now triggered attention, following the EU's recent decision to impose sanctions on four Chinese nationals over the alleged mistreatment of the Uyghur muslims.

Beijing immediately hit back with its own countermeasures, sanctioning 10 individuals and four entities which had spread "rumors and lies" about Xinjiang.

H&M already cut its ties with a Chinese provider Huafu Fashion that employs people from the muslim minority in the region of Xinjiang in September. The company said it would be halting relations with the supplier until accusations of forced labour were cleared.

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