Commentary: China’s boycott of H&M, Nike and other big brands is really bizarre

SHENZHEN: A day after China had retaliated in opposition to the European Union for its sanctions in opposition to just a few Chinese officers and one entity in Xinjiang, China’s Central Youth League known as for the boycotting of H&M.

It pointed to the Swedish client clothes large’s assertion of not utilizing cotton from Xinjiang consistent with the Better Cotton Initiative, the most important cotton sustainability programme on the planet.

Mimicking related terminology by Chinese diplomatic wolf warriors led by Yang Jiechi, one of China’s highest rating Chinese Community Party politburo members in cost of China’s international relations, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the youth league declared online that “Xinjiang cotton does not eat this s***”.

China’s state media and netizens rapidly joined in the rising Xinjiang cotton marketing campaign. Targets have since been expanded to incorporate main brands akin to Nike and Adidas.

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What’s bizarre about this marketing campaign is that the “patriotic activities” aren’t effectively coordinated. The timing of the boycott is puzzling. H&M had made the assertion one yr earlier, on Mar 20, 2020.

To increase a ruckus over it now throws into sharper focus the truth that Chinese media had been silent on the assertion for the entire yr.

To add to the confusion, these “patriotic activities” didn’t appear supported by the safety forces.

A lady, who was holding up an indication in opposition to international merchandise in entrance of an H&M retailer in Zhengzhou, was rapidly detained by native police. This was in spite of international ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying’s public announcement that the Chinese individuals had been allowed to specific their patriotic feelings.

Man walks past a Nike Inc store at a shopping complex in Beijing

A person walks previous a retailer of the sporting items retailer Nike Inc at a purchasing advanced in Beijing, China March 25, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

Around that very same interval, on Friday (Mar 26), amid the surging patriotic fervor engulfing the nation, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang additionally reportedly visited a manufacturing facility in Jiangsu that provides boycotted corporations together with Nike and Adidas.


On the floor, the marketing campaign seemed to be escalating already heated disputes between China and Europe over Xinjiang.

But a deeper look reveals how the marketing campaign may very well be serving a second function of deflecting consideration away from the thornier problem of allegations of genocide and crimes in opposition to humanity in breach of the United Nation’s Genocide Convention.

Branded by the Chinese media as the “common enemy of humankind“, Mike Pompeo declared on his final day in workplace (Jan 19) as US Secretary of State that China was committing crimes in opposition to humanity, and particularly, the crime of genocide in Xinjiang.

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According to Pompeo, China was intent on destroying ethnic minorities such because the Uighurs in Xinjiang with quite a few detention camps and sterilisation programmes involving Uighur girls.

Despite a change in celebration and US President, Pompeo’s characterisation of China’s coverage in Xinjiang has been picked up by his successor, Antony Blinken and has gained traction.

On Mar 9, a newly established suppose tank in Washington DC, the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, issued a report on Xinjiang ready by greater than 50 international specialists in worldwide legislation. The report claims to have discovered proof for violations of each single provision of the UN’s genocide conference by the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang.

At his conferences with Dr Yang and Dr Wang in Anchorage, Alaska 10 days later, Blinken expressed deep issues of the US and its allies over this problem in addition to other issues akin to Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks on the US, and the South China Sea. His temporary remarks had been countered by an extended lecture by his counterpart, Mr Yang.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (2nd R), joined by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (R)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, joined by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, speaks whereas going through Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office, and Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister on Mar 18, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Frederic J BROWN)

It was at these conferences that Yang registered his displeasure by famously saying that “we” the Chinese individuals will not give a rattling, or extra exactly “we the Chinese people don’t eat that s***”.

READ: Commentary: After Alaska, age of selective engagement in US-China relations begins


Following the heated exchanges in Alaska, Blinken put collectively a coalition in opposition to China over this problem rapidly. Altogether, 32 nations condemned China over genocide in Xinjiang, together with the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the 27 nations of the EU. 

For the primary time in 32 years, the EU sanctioned China over the difficulty. After China responded by issuing sanctions in opposition to 10 people (together with many members of the EU parliament) and 4 entities, the EU determined to droop its evaluate of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment.

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China now finds itself more and more remoted within the Western world. From its perspective, this is largely because of the truth that China is rising economically, politically and militarily, and Western nations, particularly the US, can not settle for this truth. 

But it’s value recalling that in his current information convention, US President Joe Biden had acknowledged China’s ambitions and was ready to compete with China in a race. 

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who emerges the financial champion as long as the chance of warfare is managed. This probability should be managed. There can’t be an outbreak of battle between two nuclear superpowers.

Professor Bo Zhiyue is founder and president of the Bo Zhiyue China Institute, a consulting agency offering companies to authorities leaders and CEOs of multinational firms.


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