The Chinese Communist Party has launched an attack on global brands, challenging their stance on the shocking Uyghur slave labor in Xinjiang, where most of China's cotton supply comes from.
The Chinese government has launched an intimidation campaign against global apparel brands such as H&M and Nike, rallying social media users in the communist country to boycott these brands after they condemned Uyghur slave labor.
Following reports that the the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is using Uyghur slave labor to produce massive amounts of cotton to supply to clothing brands worldwide, global companies have done their part by raising awareness on the abuses against communities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where over 1.8 million Uyghurs are being held prison in internment camps and subjected to forced labor.
In the bid to take complete control of northeastern China, where a significant portion of the country's oil reserves and cotton sources are located, the CCP is exercising their power over the Muslim minorities that reside in the region. According to Radio Free Asia, these communities are being "subjected to torture, forced labor, state-enforced birth control including forced sterilizations and abortions, and cultural eradication."
Now, brands that are condemning Uyghur slave labor are being targeted by Internet users in China. The intimidation campaign in China is also targeting the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a campaign group that is rescinding the use of its stamp of approval on Xinjiang cotton during the 2020-2021 season. Internet users in China are also targeting Spain's Inditex, the company that owns Zara, which committed to using only BCI-endorsed cotton by 2025.
In a statement posted to H&M Group's website, the global company said that they "strictly prohibit any type of forced labour in our supply chain, regardless of the country or region" and declared its commitment to respect human rights as guided by the "UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights and OECD Guidelines for responsible business conduct."
According to Breitbart, the Chinese government through their citizens are pushing the intimidation campaign not only online but also in the popular brands' physical stores. The local government-controlled Chinese media had published reports about empty H&M stores in several popular shopping districts. Some Chinese social media users went even as far as to burn their Nike products, a separate Breitbart report revealed.
On Thursday, the Chinese government-sponsored Global Times reported that "#nike" became a trending topic on their Twitter-like social media platform, Sina Weibo. Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin wrote that their citizens "have the right to look for and expose Western companies' offensive statements regarding Xinjiang affairs. It is their right to express anger. Every country and market has its interests and self-respect."
The Chinese government is facing greater pressure from the international stage to address issues on Uyghur slave labor, especially after they were branded as violators of the U.N. Genocide Convention. In response, the CCP launches an intimidation campaign to threaten to cancel any brand or organization that questions their communist leadership. The CCP continues to push the false narrative that such reports on the Uyghur slave labor are untrue, despite overwhelming evidence otherwise.