China is orchestrating the boycott of H&M over the retailer’s stance on Xinjiang
China is organizing a boycott of H&M over the Swedish fashion giant’s decision to stop sourcing cotton from Xinjiang due to forced labor concerns. The coordinated attack is part of Beijing’s broader strategy to roll back western sanctions for human rights violations in the region. It appears to have started with a social media post by the Chinese Communist Party’s youth division in which H&M was beaten for being “deeply concerned” about the human rights allegations in Xinjiang last year. “Spread rumors to boycott Xinjiang cotton while trying to make money in China? Wishful thinking! “Read the post, posted Wednesday morning that has nearly half a million likes, 40,000 shares, and 16,000 comments. Chinese state media attacked H&M, saying the brand will” definitely come at a high price for theirs Paying wrong acts “. State media also said the brand would” rather believe the lies are being spread by a few people than hearing the voices of billions of Chinese people, “a line government officials have said repeatedly when referring to human rights abuses in Xinjiang On Thursday morning, searches for H&M products and stores were blocked on Chinese e-commerce platforms and online card platforms. Celebrities had also pulled out of advertising contracts, saying H & M’s actions were one, according to state media “Defamation” of China The attack on H&M comes after the EU, UK, US and Canada on Monday announced sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. China immediately announced its own sanctions against European officials and entities. Backlash is poised to grow as more and more foreign brands come under fire for their stance on Xinjiang. Chinese consumers are already looking to adidas, Nike and Ikea online to be members of the Better Cotton Initiative, a cotton sustainability organization that suspended the licensing of farms in Xinjiang last year. China has historically unleashed the power of its 1.4 billion consumers to boycott foreign brands in a larger geopolitical area, which has been financially devastating for businesses. For example, the Conglomerate Lotte Group was forced to pull out of China due to a government-encouraged backlash against South Korean brands after a U.S. missile defense system was installed in 2017 to deter North Korea on the company’s land. At the time, Beijing argued that the defense equipment would increase American espionage capabilities in China. China has threatened further retaliation as pressure on its policies in Xinjiang mounts. However, Beijing has continued to deny allegations of human rights abuses in the region, despite the US, Canada and the Netherlands ruling earlier this year that Beiing’s actions in the region constitute genocide. More and more western governments are considering whether to make the same decision. H&M posted on Chinese social media that the company “did not take a political stance”. The retailer, which operates more than 500 stores in China – one of its largest markets – did not immediately respond to a request for comment.