Swedish Multinational fashion clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB(H&M) battled a collective backlash by the Chinese net users and state TV on Thursday as Chinese social media and Beijing’s state have raised a proclamation to boycott the foreign clothing brand for taking a public stance on the forced labour in Xinjiang region.
While the consumers have called for a complete ban on the brand as the controversy of H&M rebounded across the social media, celebrities have already withdrawn all the endorsement contracts with the company. Some of the popular and major e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and JD.com have removed H&M products off their websites following public condemnation on an eight-month old statement made by the brand on the Xinjiang issue.
H&M has been in business with more than 530 manufactures in China for their products and have made $1.4 billion sales over 520 stores in 2019 as per the latest annual reports. H&M claimed in a public statement that they are committed to long-term investment and development in china. However, as per their principle of compliance to sustainable development, the brand made an official announcement saying they will discontinue working with a Chinese manufacture that was accused for involving forced labour in its production unit. This announcement which was made in September 2020 raised questions recently as the ruling party payed heed to the social media of the brand.
Many foreign brands who have shown concern on the issue of cotton production in Xinjiang in the past years have also made to the hotspot following the backlashes made on H&M. Beijing’s diplomatic hostility has not subsided as it continues to deny all the accusations. It has reciprocated sanctions following the western sanctions on Chinese officials over labour abuse in Xinjiang.