In-Depth

'H&M, Nike Pay With China Boycotts on Xinjiang Human Rights Stance'
'H&M, Nike Pay With China Boycotts on Xinjiang Human Rights Stance'
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March 26, 2021
BIG IDEA | ‘While both Western and Asian companies have frequently been targets of Chinese nationalism over the years, the latest flurry signals a shift in strategy by President Xi Jinping’s government as it confronts a more unified approach from the U.S. and its allies.’
'Foreign companies operating in China across a range of industries could find themselves in the geopolitical firing line, facing pressure from Beijing to keep quiet on human rights just as global investors put more weight on environmental, social and governance issues.’

‘China has pushed a campaign to boycott Western retailers after the U.S., U.K., Canada and the European Union imposed sanctions over human-rights abuses against ethnic minority Uyghurs in Xinjiang.’

  • ‘The furor started when the Communist Youth League amplified a months-old statement from Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz AB expressing concern about reports of forced labor in the far west region, and quickly spread to other companies.’
  • ‘Shares of H&M, Nike Inc. and others plummeted as Chinese government officials endorsed the boycotts and celebrities cut ties with brands including Adidas, New Balance and Japan’s Uniqlo.’

‘While both Western and Asian companies have frequently been targets of Chinese nationalism over the years, the latest flurry signals a shift in strategy by President Xi Jinping’s government as it confronts a more unified approach from the U.S. and its allies.’

  • ‘Analysts say the Communist Party is betting that a response that inflicts financial costs on companies will be popular at home, show China stands on equal footing with the U.S. and help thwart President Joe Biden’s efforts to heap more pressure on Beijing over human rights.’

‘Although Xinjiang is in the spotlight now, Chinese diplomats made clear during tense talks with U.S. counterparts in Alaska last week that Xi’s administration is drawing a firm line against what it calls “interference” in “internal affairs” including Hong Kong, Tibet and Taiwan.’

  • ‘That raises the prospect that foreign companies operating in China across a range of industries could find themselves in the geopolitical firing line, facing pressure from Beijing to keep quiet on human rights just as global investors put more weight on environmental, social and governance issues.’
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