After EU sanctions: China is taking revenge on H&M, Nike, Adidas & Co. – Politics abroad


After threats against Western companies, the communist dictatorship in Beijing is now serious.

A state-directed campaign has boycotted numerous Western companies in China.

Chinese (so far contractually bound) stars such as athletes, models and musicians, customers as well as sales apps and payment systems are apparently participating in the blockade of the clothing chains H&M, Adidas, Nike and other western companies.

But not only that!
China has now imposed sanctions on two US citizens and one Canadian: the two chairs of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom – Gayle Manchin and Tony Perkins and the Canadian human rights politician Michael Chong.

The reason for this is the sanctions imposed by the EU on the Chinese leadership two days ago due to the fact that they still have concentration camps for hundreds of thousands of Muslim Uyghurs and the human rights violations in Hong Kong.

In addition, several European companies, most recently also H&M from Sweden, have reports of the forced labor of Uyghurs in cotton production in the Xinjiang region as “Deeply disturbing” criticized.

The attack on Western apparel manufacturers began on Wednesday when several Chinese state media sharply criticized H&M. Sports brands such as Adidas, Nike and New Balance were subsequently punished by a party-affiliated newspaper.

H&M was the first western company to come under fire on Wednesday. Chinese consumers would “vote with their feet and boycott unruly companies,” said the state broadcaster CCTV.

An Adidas store in BeijingFoto: FLORENCE LO/REUTERS

The state news agency Xinhua also stepped in and threatened that cooperation would be “meaningless” if there was no mutual respect. Often shared calls for boycotts against the company circulated on social networks.

H&M products could no longer be found on several large online shopping platforms.

The party-affiliated newspaper “Global Times” followed up on Thursday, accusing sporting goods manufacturers Adidas, Nike and New Balance, among others, of making “sharp remarks” in connection with Xinjiang. The fashion company Burberry and Zara were also mentioned negatively.

The result: The H&M shop on China’s most popular online shopping app Taobao was blocked overnight. The site is currently still working, but payment is only possible with Alipay (like PayPal), but no longer via Wechat.

Most Chinese use the latter to pay online or in the supermarket, restaurant or taxi.

On Thursday afternoon it was said that the German sporting goods manufacturer Adidas was also affected by a similar ban. Adidas had previously spoken of possible forced labor by the Uyghurs in the cotton industry in Xinjiang, even if they did not have any evidence of this themselves.

In addition, the Chinese rapper and superstar Jackson Wang canceled his contract with Adidas publicly on social media. State media celebrated the move and quoted Wang’s manager as saying, “The country comes first, Team Wang and Jackson are strongly against any slander against China.”

A Uyghur actress, Dilraba Dilmurat, also took the same step as Adidas allegedly insulted her home region. It is certainly no coincidence that the two stars celebrated in the state media come from Hong Kong and Xinjiang, the regions for which the EU imposed sanctions on the communist regime on Tuesday.

On Twitter – which is banned in China – the steps of the Chinese celebrities who are boycotting Adidas are celebrated on many pro-Chinese accounts.

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