Several H&M stores in China have closed after storm of criticism of fashion chain’s political statements, news agency reports Bloomberg. The Swedish company has previously stated that it is very concerned about signals that Uyghurs are forced to perform forced labor in cotton production in Xinjiang province. On social media, H&M, along with other Western brands, is the target of the anger of many Chinese.
At least six H&M stores in the cities of Lianyungang, Changchun and Yinchuan have been closed. Chinese media reported that more branches of the retail chain have been closed. Malls say landlords on the properties have slammed H&M stores because they believe the company has insulted China.
After H&M declared it would not use cotton from Xinjiang, many Chinese called for a boycott of the company. This also has consequences in the digital domain. Branches of the chain can no longer be found on Apple Maps and maps from Baidu, Google’s Chinese counterpart. Earlier, H & M’s name disappeared for unclear reasons from an important e-commerce platform of the Chinese Alibaba.
China has been accused for years of suppressing the Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang, which is also an important cotton region. Uyghurs are imprisoned, tortured and sterilized in camps and are forced to perform forced labor, say human rights activists and experts from the United Nations, among others. The Beijing government denies doing so, claiming that extremist and terrorist Uyghurs are being re-educated in camps.
The American sports brands Nike and Under Armor are also the target of Chinese protests because of their statements about the situation in Xinjiang, just like Puma and Adidas from Germany. Burberry and clothing store chain Uniqlo have also attracted the ire of many Chinese. At least 27 film and pop stars from the Asian country have canceled their cooperation with foreign brands because of criticism of human rights violations in Xinjiang.
Source site www.nu.nl