At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang

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At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
People walk by a H&M store on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street in Shanghai, ChinaWang Gang/VCG via Getty Images
  • Chinese consumers are boycotting international brands including H&M and Nike.
  • The boycotted brands pledged not to use cotton from the Xinjiang region in China.
  • Earlier this week, the US and other Western countries sanctioned China over forced labor.

At least 11 brands are facing boycotts in China over pledges not to use cotton from the Xinjiang region, which is reportedly produced with forced labor.

On Monday the US, EU, Canada, and UK placed sanctions on China for "repressive practices against Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang." Following the sanctions, past statements on human rights violations in Xinjiang from retailers including H&M and Nike surfaced on the social media platform Weibo, with users pledging to boycott H&M and other brands that signed a pledge to stop using Xinjiang cotton.

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Insider reached out to each of the brands, and have included statements from those who were immediately available to comment.

Here are the affected brands so far.

H&M

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
The H&M clothing store in Times Square in Manhattan, New York, U.S., November 15, 2019.REUTERS/Mike Segar

Swedish brand H&M said in a statement that it would no longer use cotton from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and ended its relationship with a yarn company in the region. In the statement, the retailer said it was "deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor."

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H&M's statement was circulated on Chinese social media platform Weibo. H&M products were removed from shopping sites including Alibaba and JD.com, and Baidu Maps removed geolocations of the retailer. Social media posts showed that at least 50 H&M stores were closed across China over fears of protests.

Nike

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
Customers lined up outside the Nike flagship store on the opening day at Wangfujing Street on January 20, 2021 in Beijing, China.VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Nike released its own statement about using cotton from the region, saying "We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region."

People posted videos of burning Air Jordans and Air Force 1s on Weibo in protest. Chinese actor Wang Yibo ended his contract with Nike as a result of the statement.

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Adidas

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Adidas also stated that it would not use cotton from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Three big stars, Yang Mi, Jackson Yee, and Dilraba Dilmurat, all severed relationships with Adidas as a result, Vice reported.

Converse

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
Converse shoes.PYMCA/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Celebrities Zhang Yixing, Ouyang Nana, and Bai Jingting ended relationships with Converse over the pledge, The South China Morning Post reported.

Burberry

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
Burberry flagship store in Bond Street London with British flags.LightRocket/Getty Images

The People's Daily, which is controlled by China's Communist party, named Burberry as a company that would not use Xinjiang cotton.

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Calvin Klein

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
A Calvin Klein store in Mexico City in May 2017.Henry Romero/Reuters

Chinese celebrity Zhang Yixing stopped promoting Calvin Klein over the pledge.

Under Armour

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
REUTERS/ Lucas Jackson

Under Armour's statement echoed many other brands, saying "Under Armour is deeply concerned by credible reports of forced labor and other abuses in, and outside, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)." The athleticwear brand is on the list of brands to boycott.

Tommy Hilfiger

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
Getty Images/Vittorio Zunino Celotto

Celebrities have said they will stop promoting clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger over Xinjiang cotton, Vice reported.

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New Balance

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
n this photo taken Wednesday, July 1, 2015, the New Balance proposed 950v2 sneaker, that has passed military testing, is displayed at one of company's manufacturing facilities in Boston.AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

The People's Daily also named New Balance as a company that would not use Xinjiang cotton.

Gap

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
People pass by the GAP clothing retail store in Manhattan.Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Gap made a statement stating that "We can confirm that we do not source any garments from Xinjiang," and that the company has "strict policies against the use of involuntary labor." As a result, Gap was added to the list of brands to boycott on Weibo.

Zara

At least 11 US and European brands are under fire and facing boycotts in China for criticizing alleged forced labor cotton practices in Xinjiang
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Zara's website had a statement online that called reports of forced labor in Xinjiang "highly concerning," which has since been removed. Zara was added to the Weibo list of brands to boycott.

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