Beijing: Swedish fashion retailer H&M was forced to close 20 stores in China following its statement on forced labour in Xinjiang that leads to uproar among Chinese nationals and authorities.
Recently, several companies including H&M and Nike re facing tremendous pressure after they said that they were concerned about allegations that forced labour has been used to produce cotton in Xinjiang.
They are also been subjected to pressure amid China’s rising tension with the west.
The ruling Communist Party lashed out at H&M, Nike and other shoe and clothing brands last week after the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed travel and financial sanctions on officials accused of abuses in Xinjiang in China’s northwest.
China has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
The Swedish group has shut down about 20 of its 500 outlets in the communist country, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Some of the closures might have been the result of Chinese landlords forcing out the shops, while local consumers vowed to boycott the brand, Taiwan News reported. Chinese media had called for Chinese boycotts of Swedish multinational retailer H&M, sports apparel powerhouses Nike and Adidas; New Balance; Burberry and other members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) that have voiced concerns or pledged not to use supply chain components produced in Xinjiang, South China Morning Post reported.
H&M, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer, has been pulled from major e-commerce stores in China and blocked by several major navigation, review and rating apps. Dozens of Chinese celebrities have terminated contracts or said they would cut ties with these brands, including Nike, Adidas, Puma, Converse, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Uniqlo — a move lauded by state media.