China has banned products from several Western companies, including Nike, Gap and H&M because they are allegedly unsafe. The companies in question recently expressed critical viewpoints on the fate of the Uighur population in Xinjiang and reports of forced labour.
It mainly concerns children's clothing by brands such as Gap, Nike, H&M, Ralph Lauren and Zara, writes Belgian newspaper De Standaard. According to the official explanation of the Chinese customs agency, the products are unsafe because they "contain dyes that can penetrate the body through the skin or mouth and thus endanger the user's health".
It is, of course, no coincidence that these very manufacturers are being targeted. All the brands mentioned above have recently taken a clear stance on the Uighur issue in Xinjiang. H&M even stopped working with a local cotton supplier. According to various human rights organisations, China's Muslim minority is forced to work on the cotton plantations in Xinjiang. About one-fifth of the world's cotton comes from that province.
It is not the first time that the Chinese government has taken "measures" against Western fashion labels. Previously, their products were also removed from e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba, and their brick and mortar stores could no longer be found on Apple and Baidu route planners.