Smartphone firms Huawei, Xiaomi remove Nike, Adidas app downloads amid Xinjiang cotton row

2021.03.30
Smartphone firms Huawei Xiaomi remove Nike Adidas app downloads amid Xinjiang cotton row

Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi have joined a boycott of Nike and Adidas by suspending downloads of the sportswear brands’ mobile apps on their devices, a news report said.

Nike and Adidas apps had been removed from the app stores on Huawei and Xiaomi devices, the Communist Party-controlled media outlet Global Times confirmed on Monday.

Xiaomi has also removed advertisements for the two fashion brands from its app store, the report said, citing a spokesperson for the smartphone maker. The spokesperson did not give reasons for the move, the report said.

Consumers in mainland China called for a boycott of international brands including H&M, Nike and Adidas after several Western governments imposed sanctions on Chinese officials and a Xinjiang entity over human rights abuses. Chinese netizens said the fashion brands’ boycott against Xinjiang-produced cotton, over human rights concerns, reflected hostility to China.

On Monday, cotton producers and trade unions in the northwestern Chinese region joined the chorus of Chinese condemnation against Western countries, accusing them of smearing China and lying about Xinjiang’s situation.

The Federation of Trade Unions of Xinjiang said the United States and its allies had fabricated lies about forced labor in the autonomous region with the intention of interfering in China’s domestic affairs.

The Xinjiang Women’s Federation rejected claims of forced labor, saying members of ethnic groups and women accepted jobs out of their own free will. The federation’s members firmly believe that they can create a better life under the Communist Party’s leadership, it said.

The Xinjiang Cotton Association said claims of forced labor were lies and political maneuvers. The association said it welcomed field trips and inspections by international fashion brands at the region’s cotton production sites.

Meanwhile, across the strait in Taiwan, a group of legislators threw their backing behind commercial brands that refuse to use Xinjiang cotton to support the rights of ethnic minority groups there.

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