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brands denouncing forced labor in Xinjiang boycotted in China

REPORTAGEIt is an organized pressure coup – and presented as spontaneous – from Chinese consumers. While brands around the world are called upon to speak out for or against the use of cotton from Xinjiang, where the Uyghur Muslim community is persecuted, those who choose to forgo it face criticism on social media , but also a massive boycott in stores. This is the case of Nike, Adidas, Burberry and even H&M, who denounced forced labor in this western province of China.

“It hurts the national feeling of the Chinese people”

Thus, while the stores are open despite the Covid-19 pandemic, some brands remain sadly deserted. In the very commercial district of Sanlitun, in Beijing, there is no one at H&M. For a passer-by crossed by Europe 1, the choice made by the brand is “really a mistake”. “These are lies and cause problems. And above all, it hurts the national feeling of the Chinese people.”

“Me and my friends, we all agree,” adds another resident of the capital who came to shop. “If these brands boycott us, then we’ll boycott them back.”

“It is not nationalism”, assures Beijing

But is this boycott really coordinated by the consumers themselves? In any case, this is what Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asserts, according to which “the Chinese have every right to express their feelings”. “They want to defend the honor and dignity of the country. This is not nationalism,” she said.

For fear of being targeted in turn, some foreign brands have even published press releases in China claiming to use cotton from Xinjiang … even if it means being boycotted in return by Western countries.

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