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Chongqing Consumers Voice Support for Xinjiang Cotton to Refute Accusations

By VIVIAN YANICHONGQING|Apr 02,2021

Chongqing- Chongqing consumers have responded with concrete actions on certain foreign companies’ business decisions, including retail giants like Nike, H&M, and Uniqlo, who alleged use of Uighur forced labor in cotton production based on erroneous information, therefore suspend sourcing cotton from Xinjiang.

Boycott biased western brands

Retail giants like Nike and H&M face a backlash in Chongqing.

“I usually buy very few H&M clothes due to their relatively poor quality,” said a local female customer wandering at the H&M store at Jiefangbei Square. “I think the Xinjiang cotton incident will still have an impact on Chinese consumers.”

“Spreading rumors to boycott Xinjiang cotton while trying to make a profit in China?” said Mr. Hong, an Inner Mongolian traveling in Chongqing recently. “I will not consider buying products from H&M or Nike. Instead, I feel more comfortable buying products from domestic brands.”

When asking whether the number of customers buying Nike products has been decreased, “Our business has been bleak recently,” said a staff who works at Nike Beacon Store in Jiefangbei, “As the largest Nike store in Chongqing, we are already good compared to sales from the Nike store in Jiangbei District.” 

Not many people visited the Nike Beacon Store in Jiefangbei on Friday afternoon. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

Meanwhile, staff from the Adidas store at Bayi Square in Jiefangbei commented that their recent business hadn’t been affected much.

Adidas store at Bayi Square in Jiefangbei. (iChongqing/ Vivian Yan)

“As a Xinjiang native, the remarks made by some foreign brands about the existence of ‘forced labor’ in Xinjiang are complete nonsense,” said Zhang Can, a Xinjiang native who moved to Chongqing to start up his cashmere business. “With the advancement of agricultural science and technology in China, Xinjiang has realized fully automatic mechanized work for harvesting cotton, covering almost every piece of cotton land. Therefore, these false fallacies are self-defeating.”

Zhang insisted that he will boycott those brands who made false statements about Xinjiang cotton. “What real products can a brand that makes false statements have?” He raised his concern.

 “The cotton industry is the most distinctive agricultural economic representative in Xinjiang,” said Zhang. “It is famous for its precious ‘long-staple cotton,’ which serves as the first choice for the supply of raw materials for major clothing brands around the world.” 

Xinjiang is famous for its precious “long-staple cotton.” (iChongqing file photo)

Xinjiang welcomes the world.

On Thursday, China Cotton Association welcomes international firms, organizations, and third-party agencies to visit the region.

On Thursday, China Cotton Association welcomes international firms, organizations, and third-party agencies to visit the region. (iChongqing file photo)

In addition to cotton production, Xinjiang is also rich in petroleum mineral resources and high-quality cashmere. Furthermore, Xinjiang has been called the “land of melons and fruits.”

“Xinjiang is a multi-ethnic region, and our various ethnic groups are united together, just like pomegranate seeds,” said Zhang. “It is a beautiful place, and we welcome visitors to taste our grapes from Turpan, melons from Hami, rock sugar heart apple from Aksu, and fragrant pears from Korla.” 

Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe Railway, Yuxinou Railway for short, has created a new way of opening up in both directions and rewrote China’s opening to the outside world. From Chongqing in China to Duisburg in Germany, the international railway transport channel runs 11,179 kilometers, passing through Urumqi in Xinjiang, reaching Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Poland after leaving China at Alashankou.

While western countries, including the UK, US, and Canada, are accused of committing serious human rights violations against the Uighur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang autonomous region, China firmly opposes any sanction imposed on individuals or entities based on the pretext of so-called human rights issues in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Companies involved should avoid politicizing business issues, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.

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