China: Western textile giants facing boycott

The Swedish company Hennes and Mauritz (H&M) and other major Western brands like Nike and Adidas are facing an extensive boycott campaign in China. The boycott was triggered by statements by these companies - in some cases made months ago - to the effect that they no longer want to purchase cotton from Xinjiang Province due to human rights violations perpetrated there against the Uighurs.

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Polityka (PL) /

All about the sanctions

The timing of the boycott is no mere coincidence, Polityka points out:

“The sudden awakening of the communist youth and their discovery of the old H&M press release [from September 2020] correlates with the sanctions that the EU, Britain, Canada and the US have imposed against leading party members and Xinjiang companies in connection with the persecution of the Uyghurs. ... The attack on H&M and other companies boycotting cotton that may come from labour camps should be understood as the potential start of an even more intense dispute between Beijing and the West.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

No one can pretend they didn't know after this

The downside of doing business in the PRC is more evident than ever, comments China correspondent Fabian Kretschmer in the taz:

“Every European company inevitably has to walk a moral tightrope if it wants a share in this booming consumer market with 1.4 billion inhabitants. ... [Beijing's] core message is: those who don't dance to our tune will feel our economic wrath. This may be morally reprehensible, but looked at objectively that's just how it is. However, European companies should be clear on one thing. After what has happened to H&M no one can claim they didn't know what they were getting into.”

Expressen (SE) /

Don't ratify the investment agreement

Expressen says the boycott campaign in China should open politicians' eyes:

“Do we really want to give the Chinese more opportunities to swallow up European companies against a background of increasing authoritarianism in recent years? If we ratify the agreement, it would be tantamount to rubber-stamping China's harsh methods. And that wouldn't make the dictatorship more conciliatory, on the contrary. The investment agreement may 'make the conditions more equal' on paper. But the boycott of H&M clearly shows what we need to be prepared for in the future.”