China Boycotts Western Companies Over Uyghurs

  • Companies are being pressured to scrub from their websites language about corporate policies on human rights, reverse decisions to stop buying cotton produced in Xinjiang, and remove maps that depict Taiwan as an independent country.

  • In October 2020, the Geneva-based Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), an influential non-profit group that promotes sustainable cotton production, suspended licensing of Xinjiang cotton, citing allegations and “increasing risks” of forced labor. The statement has since been scrubbed from the BCI website, and, disturbingly, also is not accessible on the Internet Archive.

  • In March 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, in a report, “Uyghurs for Sale,” revealed that Uyghurs were working in factories — under conditions of forced labor — that are in the supply chains of more than 80 well-known global brands in the clothing, automotive and technology sectors.

  • “China’s government, increasingly keen to punish critics of their Xinjiang policies, is forcing foreign companies to make a choice they have been studiously trying to avoid: support China or get out of the Chinese market…. The Communist Party views itself as increasingly able to exert economic pressure on others, using the ‘powerful gravitational field’ of the world’s second-largest economy…. The choice between the lucrative Chinese market and the values firms profess in the rest of the world is becoming unavoidable….” — The Economist, March 27, 2021.

  • “German companies account for a good one-half of the EU’s exports to China. The German export industry has little interest in tarnishing this balance sheet with moral zeal…. The economic dependence on China, however, further weakens the already low impact of moral arguments. As long as Europe, and in this case Germany in particular, is not prepared to reduce this dependency, complaints about human rights violations in China will, at best, continue to trigger sloppy defensive reactions from Beijing.” — Die Welt, March 24, 2021.

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