After Nike et H&M, c’est au tour de Burberry is now facing the wrath of China for not using Xinjiang cotton after accusations of human rights violations in the region. Burberry has lost its brand ambassador in China as well as its motif in a popular video game.
First, Burberry lost its contract with Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu, with its agency explaining on Thursday that Burberry “had not clearly and publicly expressed its opinion on cotton from Xinjiang.”
Then the brand lost the appearance of its iconic tartan pattern in the video game “Honor of Kings.” A removal announced on the game’s official account on the Weibo platform, the equivalent of Twitter in China.
As a reminder, according to activists and human rights experts at the United Nations, China has allegedly used mass detention, torture, forced labour and sterilisation of Uighurs in Xinjiang, including in cotton fields. China calls the reports full of “false information” and says its actions in the region are necessary to fight extremism.
Just after Britain imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for human rights abuses in the eastern region, Beijing decided on Friday to sanction four British entities and nine individuals accusing them of “spreading lies” about the Xinjiang region.
In a statement issued on Friday, the China National Textile and Apparel Council demanded that international brands cease their “reprehensible behaviour”, in particular the exclusion of cotton from Xinjiang from their supply chain, out of respect for Chinese customers.
Burberry, for example, withdrew its approval for Xinjiang cotton last October because of human rights abuses, an action that has now earned it the wrath of China. According to its website, the cotton it uses comes from the US, Australia, Turkey, India and Egypt.
In November, the brand had also declared that it had no production activities in the Xinjiang region in a letter to British lawmakers. It said it does not tolerate any form of modern slavery among its suppliers, including forced labour, servitude or involuntary prison labour.
Featured Photo : © Burberry