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Nike, H&M face backlash in China over Uighur stance

DW, 25 Mar 2021
A furious China is lashing out against global fashion brands. US sports apparel maker Nike is facing a backlash on social media in China after saying it was "concerned" about reports of forced labor of Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. The fallout comes after the EU and the US imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang.
European and US brands are facing a dilemma involving cotton from China's Xinjiang region where there have been reports of forced labor of Uighurs. If the retail brands use the cotton, they will come under attack in the West. But speaking out on Xinjiang cotton and rejecting it could also prove costly.
Nike is trending on social media in China - but not in a good way. It's facing a backlash after a statement on China's policies in the Xinjiang province, saying it won't use cotton from the region.
And it's not alone - H&M was singled out this week for issuing a statement last year in which it said it was concerned about allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang. Both H&M and Nike's statements haven't been received well by people in China.
Western brands are caught in the middle of a feud between China and western countries, which have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials because of the allegations of forced labor. But while taking a stance on Xinjiang cotton is potentially a human rights issue, it could hit their bottom lines in the world's second largest economy.

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