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Hugo Boss and Asics to Continue Buying Xinjiang Cotton Despite Uyghur Persecution

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Several international clothing brands, including Hugo Boss and Asics, announced on Chinese social media their intention to continue buying cotton from the Xinjiang region, which is the target of sanctions between China and the West for human rights abuses.

On Weibo, known as the “Chinese Twitter”, the official Hugo Boss account published a statement last night saying: “Xinjiang cotton is one of the best in the world (…). We will continue to buy and support Xinjiang cotton”.

The brand went further and assured that it “always respects the ‘one China principle’ and resolutely defends China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“We have established long-term cooperation with many excellent Chinese companies and will continue to maintain it,” Hugo Boss noted on Weibo.

In September 2020, the U.S. network NBC had quoted representatives of the German company as saying that they had demanded that their suppliers prove that their products did not come from Xinjiang.

For its part, the Japanese brand Asics indicated that its local supply chains include cotton from Xinjiang and, like Hugo Boss, assured that it will continue to “buy and support” cotton from that region and that it “always defends the national sovereignty and territorial integrity” of China.

Ten percent of Hugo Boss’ worldwide sales come from China, which it considers a “key priority”, while in the case of Asics the figure rises to 12 percent.

Another international brand that issued statements on the matter was FILA, of Italian origin and currently South Korean-owned, although its operations in China have been controlled since 2009 by local manufacturer ANTA Sports.

“FILA China has purchased and used cotton from cotton production areas in China, including Xinjiang,” notes the firm’s local division, which announced its withdrawal from the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), the world’s largest organization dedicated to the sustainability of this material.

In recent months, numerous international firms have issued statements assuring that they do not use cotton from Xinjiang in the face of accusations from Western countries about forced labor in the fields of the region, where Beijing oppresses the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

This Thursday, after a cross of sanctions between the European Union (EU) and China regarding the situation in Xinjiang, the Communist Youth League launched a campaign on Weibo against textile companies such as the Swedish H&M, whose stores disappeared yesterday from the main e-commerce platforms of the Asian country despite the fact that its statement on Xinjiang cotton dated from September 2020.

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