The Chinese government has warned clothing brand H & M that if it refuses to buy cotton from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, it will not earn a penny domestically.
H & M and other Western brands are facing a backlash in China after expressing concern about the use of forced labor in cotton production.
China has been accused of forcing members of the Uighur minority, primarily Muslims, to choose cotton in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
China has denied this, and important brands are facing boycotts these days.
“I don’t think businesses should politicize their economic behavior,” Chu Chunqiu, a spokesman for the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government, said at a press conference on Monday. “Can H & M continue to make money in the Chinese market? It’s no longer the case.”
Xu said some brand decisions to stop buying Xinjiang cotton were “unreasonable” compared to “lifting stones and dropping them on their feet.”
H & M has not yet responded to the BBC’s request for comment.
A Chinese spokesman’s statement casts doubt on the future of Swedish companies in one of the world’s largest markets.
It also shows the Chinese government’s support for the recent Chinese consumer boycott of products from H & M and other global retailers.
The Chinese boycott was initially targeted at Nike and H & MThere are reports that the latter product has withdrawn from major e-commerce platforms and some of its stores have been closed nationwide.
However, the boycott has expanded to include Burberry, Adidas and Converse in particular.
A cotton line erupted after the United States and other Western governments increased pressure on China on suspicion of human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
China has been accused of committing serious human rights abuses against Uighurs in the region.
In December, the BBC announced a survey based on new findings. China has forced hundreds of thousands of ethnic minorities, including Uighurs, into manual labor in cotton fields in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region...
Last week, several Western countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and members of the European Union Sanctioned Chinese officials About the situation of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
China has repeatedly denied allegations of abuse and counterattacked with retaliatory sanctions against European officials.
What is Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region? Who are the Uighurs?
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the largest region in China, produces about one-fifth of the world’s cotton. It is an autonomous region in theory and is actually facing increasing restrictions in recent years.
Millions of Chinese Uighurs, a minority of Muslims who take pride in being culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian countries, live in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
In recent decades, the mass migration of Han Chinese (Chinese minorities) to the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region has fueled tensions with Uighurs and at some point burned into deadly violence.
This has resulted in extensive security crackdowns and extensive national surveillance programs, with critics saying it violates the human rights of Uighurs.China says such measures are needed to combat separatism and terrorism
Uighurs are detained in camp Allegations of torture, forced labor and sexual abuse have surfaced. China denied these claims, saying the camp was a “re-education” facility aimed at saving Uighurs from poverty.