China warns firms to stay out of Xinjiang politics
Chinese officials on Monday warned foreign brands to stay out of local politics after firms including H&M and Nike raised concerns about forced labour in Xinjiang.
H&M, Burberry, Nike, Adidas and other Western brands were hit by consumer boycotts last week in China after negative comments rgearding their sourcing of cotton in Xinjiang resurfaced.
Attention on the firms comes as tensions rise between a group of Western countries and China over alleged human rights violations and mistreatment of Uyghur muslims in the Chinese province.
“I don’t think a company should politicize its economic behaviour,” said Xu Guixiang, a Xinjiang government spokesman, at a news conference on Monday morning according to Reuters.
“Can H&M continue to make money in the Chinese market? Not anymore.”
“To rush into this decision and get involved in the sanctions is not reasonable. It’s like lifting a stone to drop it on one’s own feet,” he added.
Xu repeatedly rejected accusations of genocide and human rights abuses: “They [Western governments] have lost their minds and their conscience, they are enthusiastic about political manipulation and the abuse of sanctions, to a level that is hysterical”.
Washington on Friday condemned the Chinese campaign against the brands that criticised the alleged behaviour.