Peking [China]March 25 (ANI): The Swedish multinational clothing retailer HM is facing a backlash in China for refusing to buy cotton production in Xinjiang, where the communist government is doing atrocities against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities; called “genocide” by several countries.
Chinese mainland media reported that HM products were removed from all major Chinese e-commerce platforms, including JD, Taobao and Pinduoduo, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Searches for HM products on these platforms returned no results on Wednesday.
In a statement last year, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer said it did not collect cotton from Xinjiang. “We do not work with any garments factories in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and we do not source products from this region,” the company said.
While China is HM’s fourth largest market, the company has 520 stores in the country, second only to the United States with 593 stores, SCMP reported.
According to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, China produces 22 percent of the world’s cotton, of which 84 percent comes from the Xinjiang region.
The backlash against HM comes a day after a burning exchange of sanctions between China, the United States, the European Union (EU), Canada and the United Kingdom over the treatment of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang.
“Slander and boycott Xinjiang’s cotton while hoping to make money in China? Do not even dream of it!” said the Communist Youth League on the Chinese social platform Weibo.
The youth union on Wednesday re-launched popular memes about foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi’s statements at the Alaska meeting between the United States and Chinese officials last week.
“HM takes off your biased lenses and immediately stops spreading fake news. Xinjiang cotton does not buy it,” they said.
In a popular Weibo post, an Internet user said he resigned after reading the company’s statement, according to the SCMP.
“As a long-term employee, I take the initiative to resign, goodbye HM”, read the post that was “liked” more than 200,000 times.
In addition, some Chinese celebrities were also quick to cut ties with HM with actor Huang Xuan said on Wednesday that he had closed all deals with the Swedish clothing company, SCMP reported.
“Huang Xuan and his team resolutely oppose all forms of behavior that slander and corrupt China and human rights!” he said.
Chinese K-pop star Victoria Song also said on Wednesday that she was in no way associated with HM.
“The national interest is more important than anything, [Victoria Song] boycotts all behavior that damages China’s reputation. She strongly opposes these actions, which use commercial means as a means of harming and humiliating the country and its people, she said.
China has been reprimanded globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass concentration camps, intervening in their religious activities and sending members of society to undergo some form of coercive education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied involvement in human rights abuses against the Uighurs in Xinjiang, while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal violence against the ethnic community. according to a Report.
Former United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attack on Uighurs a “genocide”. Beijing has restricted the flow of information from the area to scrub evidence, which has led countries to make decisions as best they can.
Since 2017, the Xinjiang government has carried out a massive political “retraining” campaign against Uighurs and other groups, with researchers estimating that over a million people are being held in camps, some being transferred to prisons and others being forced to work in factories, the Washington Post reported . (ANI)