[Opinion] Thoughts on Xinjiang Cotton Event

Author: MOS Translation Group Wenya621

CCP’s boycott of companies like H&M, Nike, etc. is tantamount to taking the initiative to decouple from the world economy. By manipulating public sentiment to boycott the foreign companies, CCP will certainly pay the price it deserves for what it has done and will not change its ultimate fate of accelerating to extinction no matter how it screams.

Picture from internet

1. Overview of the event

H&M, a fashion retailer and a member of the Good Cotton Development Institute (BCI), sparked a social media storm and a series of boycotts in communist China over a statement it released last fall expressing deep concern about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang this week.

In the statement, H&M said it was “deeply concerned about reports from civil society organizations and media coverage, including allegations of forced labor and discrimination against minorities and religions in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” and that “we do not work with any garment manufacturing factories located in Xinjiang, nor do we source products or raw materials from the region. ” The statement also refutes claims by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that H&M has a business relationship with a Chinese apparel company that employs laborers from Xinjiang. The statement was apparently intended to clarify suspicions that the multinational apparel company’s supply chain involved Xinjiang.

The statement, issued last year, suddenly gained attention on Chinese social networks months later. With the Central Committee of China’s Communist Youth League and official media strongly criticizing it, a wave of anger on Chinese social media on Wednesday stirring up nationalist sentiment. 

The hashtag “H&M touched Xinjiang cotton” became a hot search on Weibo, and the discussion forum for the Weibo post was flooded with outrage, with many people leaving messages asking H&M to “get out of China” and calling for a boycott of the brand, which was accused of being “racist” and “anti-Chinese”.Taobao, Jingdong, Pinduoduo, and other e-commerce platforms in mainland China have blocked H&M stores and related products, while Baidu Maps and Gaode Maps have blocked “H&M” or “HM” and several Chinese Android application markets have taken down the HM Mall App. Entertainers Song Qian and Huang Xuan, H&M Greater China spokespersons, released a statement on the same day, saying they had terminated their cooperation with H&M.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press conference that the accusations of forced labor in Xinjiang are purely malicious lies concocted by individual anti-China forces to smear China’s image, undermine security and stability in Xinjiang and deter China’s development. She said Chinese netizens have the right to express their feelings. “This is definitely not any nationalism, but simple patriotism.”

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, said in a Weibo post that the H&M statement, made in October and September last year, was rehashed today because the ideological exchanges between China and the West around the Xinjiang issue have become quite intense in the past two days, driving social sentiment on both sides.

What does Editor-in-Chief Hu mean by the “quite intense” exchange between China and the West over the Xinjiang issue? A look at world events will give us a clear picture.

2. The actions of the world towards the Xinjiang issue       

The following representative actions are a good illustration of the term “quite intense” by Editor-in-Chief Hu.

1). On January 19, 2021, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that China had committed ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

2). On March 22, 2021, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union imposed the first joint sanctions against China for its persecution of Uighurs in Xinjiang. Australia and New Zealand issued statements expressing support.

The sanction lists of British, Canadian, and the EU. The lists all included four Chinese officials and one entity: Zhu Hailun, former secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Committee; Wang Mingshan, member of the Standing Committee of the Party Committee of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region; Wang Junzheng, political commissar of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and chairman of China New Construction Group Corporation; and Chen Mingguo, head of the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, the entity sanctioned is the Public Security Bureau of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

As for the U.S., the Treasury Department announced two more people: Wang Junzheng and Chen Mingguo, on the sanctions list, as Wang Mingshan and Zhu Hailun were already sanctioned by the U.S. last year.

3). On March 22, 2021, the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), the Footwear Distributors Association of America (FDRA), the National Retail Federation (NRF), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), and the U.S. Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) issued a joint statement supporting the U.S. State Department’s sanctions action to stop the Chinese government’s persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang and to promote an end to the ongoing genocide. The statement said the business community has been working to combat forced labor for the past two years, and the trade associations also said they will continue to work with the U.S. administration and Congress “to implement an effective and enforceable strategy to address the issue of forced labor in and related to Xinjiang.

All of the above actions by countries around the world regarding Xinjiang indicate that the U.S., Europe, and other western countries are tightening their sanctions against communist China one at a time in response to human rights issues in Xinjiang. Not to be outdone, CCP has imposed corresponding sanctions on several EU officials, but neither the intensity nor the effectiveness of the sanctions has helped.

3. Thinkings triggered by the Xinjiang cotton event

1) H&M is just the beginning.

In addition to H&M, the two giants of sports consumption Nike and Adidas were also found to have released a statement about Xinjiang on their official website in March last year. Nike expressed concern about “reports of forced labor in and related to Xinjiang. “Nike does not source products in the region “and” we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they do not use textiles or staple yarns from the region.” Adidas similarly stated in March 2020, “In spring 2019, we explicitly asked our material suppliers not to purchase yarns from the Xinjiang region.” These companies are members of BCI, an association with 1,953 members from around the world, many of them are world-renowned brands, all of whom have expressed strong concern and cut-off from Xinjiang products produced by forced labor. This signals that more and more of the world’s apparel manufacturers will stop sourcing cotton from Xinjiang because of their opposition to forced labor in the region.

2) CCP manipulated public sentiment to boycott foreign companies  

Knowing that it cannot deny the crimes of genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang, the CCP government has tried to incite the so-called national spirit and patriotic sentiment of the general public who do not know the truth through public opinion and media propaganda, in order to boycott the business of major garment companies in China, in an attempt to threaten major companies to abandon their righteous stance. As in 2019, the general manager of the NBA Houston Rockets, Murray, publicly supported Hong Kong on Twitter, triggering a civil boycott of the NBA in mainland China, and CCTV sports channels immediately suspended the broadcast of NBA events. With the NBA’s compromise, CCP official media stopped speculating and the boycott cooled down. in October 2020, CCTV resumed broadcasting NBA games. 

According to Xie Tian, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Business, the Chinese government’s use of politics to suppress the economy is more subtle and is achieved by manipulating civil boycotts, which are spontaneous and market-based, bypassing international trade rules and thus preventing multinational companies from obtaining evidence and resorting to arbitration in international courts.

But in terms of “market” or “position”, we have seen more and more companies abandoned the tempting “market” of the CCP and chose the human justice “position”.

3). Economic decoupling has begun and the CCP is on its way to extinction

With the emergence of a series of issues such as the CCP virus, super-limit biochemical weapons, human rights issues in Hong Kong, and the threat to Taiwan’s territory, western countries are seeking full political, economic, and financial decoupling from the CCP.

CCP’s boycott of H&M is tantamount to taking the initiative to start decoupling from the world economy and start a full-scale internal circular economy, which will definitely add severe difficulties to its economy, which is already on the verge of collapse.

CCP will certainly pay the price for what it has done, especially for its crime against the Uyghur in Xinjiang. In the final analysis, no matter how CCP screams, it will not change its ultimate fate of accelerating to death.

Posted by Xiaoxin

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