“You will no longer import cotton from Xinjiang and we will boycott your products”. This is the strategy that is being adopted in China. The economic backlash has already arrived for Nike and, most recently, H&M. Now it hits Burberry, the first luxury brand, which has declared that it is cutting off relations with companies in Xinjiang.
The Uyghur question
The cotton war has officially broken out. The international community accuses China of alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang.
The reference, in particular, is to force forced labor and discriminate against members of the Uyghur ethnic group and other Muslim minorities. Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have sanctioned China, which in turn has sanctioned those who “spread lies”, pointing the finger at London.
Some large fashion groups have taken strong positions, disrupting all business with Xinjiang. And the Chinese reacted with boycotting campaigns. H&M and Nike are among victims, we said, as well as Adidas. Brands like Fila and Hugo Boss, reports Jing Daily, continue to source from the offending region, while Inditex seems to have canceled its stance.
It is now affecting Burberry
And Burberry ended up in this war. Why? Because the company is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, which promotes sustainable cotton production, and suspended its authorisation for the material from Xinjiang in October. Additionally, in November 2020, Burberry claimed it has no business relationship in Xinjiang, adding that it does not condone any form of modern-day slavery among its suppliers.
In the last few hours, as Reuters reports, Tencent has terminated its partnership with the video game Honor of Kings, removing the iconic Scottish motif from the clothes worn by the characters. Brand ambassadors Zhou Dongyu and Song Weilong have announced they are stepping down from the role. Hong Kong MP Regina Ip said she will stop buying Burberry.
Image from cn.burberry.com
- China, Nike urge suppliers to “prevent Uyghur forced labour”
- US fashion brands ask Chinese to stop using Uyghurs’ forced labor