icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Hugo Boss branded ‘two-faced’ in China for sending mixed messages on buying cotton from Xinjiang amid forced labor allegations

Hugo Boss branded ‘two-faced’ in China for sending mixed messages on buying cotton from Xinjiang amid forced labor allegations
German clothing giant Hugo Boss has been accused of hypocrisy in China after it issued contradictory statements about the allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang which have sparked a boycott of foreign brands.

Major clothing brands recently came under fire in China, sparking calls for a boycott, for saying they would stop using cotton from the country's northwestern Xinjiang region, populated by Uighurs, China's ethnic Muslim minority.

Western nations and global human rights groups have accused Beijing of placing Uighurs in internment camps and subjecting them to forced labor. China denies these allegations, insisting that Uighurs attend vocational education and training centers as part of a de-radicalization program that helps integrate them into society.

The Chinese subsidiary of Hugo Boss apparently went against the company's headquarters in Germany when it wrote in Chinese on Weibo, the country's equivalent of Twitter, that it would “continue to buy and support Xinjiang cotton,” hailing the material as one of the best in the world.

Hugo Boss’ main office, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning forced labor and noting that it has “so far” not procured “any goods” originating in Xinjiang. The brand further explained that the Weibo post had been deleted because it was unauthorized, according to Reuters. On Saturday, the brand's Weibo account issued a new statement saying that it valued all longstanding relations with partners in China.

Also on rt.com US-China confrontation may only get worse under Biden as Beijing switches into ‘war mode’ in face of western criticism & sanctions

The company’s mixed messaging led to ridicule and accusations of being “two-faced” on Chinese social media, according to the South China Morning Post. Several celebrities, including actor Li Yifeng, announced that they were ending their relationship with the German brand.  

Hugo Boss was not the first international company to demonstrate multiple conflicting stances amid the Xinjiang controversy. Italian sportswear giant Fila spoke out against forced labor and promised to review its business practices in China. However, its Chinese subsidiary cut ties with an NGO that was campaigning to stop buying cotton from Xinjiang and said that it has always used cotton from the region, according to Fortune.

Chinese internet users called for the boycott of other brands, like H&M and Nike, for their past and recent statements on Xinjiang. Following the backlash, H&M – which is based in Sweden and said it was “deeply concerned” by the allegations of forced labor – has been removed from Chinese e-commerce platforms, plus shop-listing and map apps.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.