According to the Wall Street Journal, the Swedish clothing retailer H&M was no longer appearing on popular Chinese apps on Wednesday – months after the company announced it would no longer source from Xinjiang, a major global source of cotton. More than 400 H&M locations in the country vanished on apps including those used for directions and ride-hailing services.
Other international brands – including Nike and Adidas – have also faced criticism and boycotts on Chinese social media, but the report said that “only H&M appeared to be the subject of an across-the-board removal from apps.”
An estimated 1.8 million Uyghurs - as well as other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang - are reported to have been detained in camps where forced labor, torture and forced sterilizations are commonplace. A March 2020 report from the U.S Congressional-Executive Commission on China revealed that goods made with forced labor by political, ethnic and religious prisoners in Xinjiang were in supply chains of major U.S. companies, including H&M.
Some companies have begun announcing they will stop sourcing from Xinjiang.
“USCIRF commends those U.S. companies that are stepping up and moving beyond their existing and insufficient supply chain due diligence measures, and are paying attention to forced labor and other human rights concerns in the Uyghur region,” Turkel said.
“If China is blacklisting these companies for simply upholding their moral and legal obligation, that means we are doing something right in bringing attention to this vital issue,” he said.