Hundreds of millions of yuan have been lost due to drop in sales. Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minorities are exploited in labour camps. The campaign against US and European brands that do not buy local cotton has been a failure. Nike shoes are still sold on the B2C platform founded by billionaire Jack Ma.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Xinjiang cotton producers are suffering huge losses as a result of the Western boycott, state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
Last year, many clothing multinationals stopped buying cotton from China's autonomous region for fear that producers used forced Uyghur and other minority Turkic Muslim labourers.
The attacks orchestrated by state organisations and media against US and European brands have not achieved actual results.
Chinese consumers continue to buy Western products, which shows that not all Chinese are following the regime's directives.
According to expert data, confirmed by the United Nations, China holds or has held more than a million Muslims in concentration camps located in in Xinjiang, called East Turkestan by the Muslim population.
Recent media revelations have highlighted the existence of labour camps in the region, with hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz said to be forced to work picking cotton.
China has denied all accusations, claiming that the camps in Xinjiang are vocational schools that are part of a project to reduce poverty and fight terrorism and separatism.
According to CCTV, Xinxiang cotton exporters have lost hundreds of millions of yuan (tens of millions of dollars) as a result of the Western ban.
Stopping purchases has damaged growers. Some have lost their annual revenues, about 100,000 yuan (US$ 15,300) each.
The data confirms the Chinese Foreign Ministry's announcement that US restrictions, especially the ban on cotton imports, are hurting Xinjiang's economy.
Beijing is under pressure. Washington and its allies seem increasingly willing to coordinate their actions against it.
The Chinese Government responded to recent Western sanctions on Xinjiang by imposing its own punitive countermeasures.
Soon after, ordinary Chinese, state media and celebrities launched a campaign against European and US fashion giants that refuse to buy Xinjiang cotton.
On Wednesday last week, the Communist Youth League launched an attack on Weibo (a Chinese-language microblogging platform) targeting famous brands like Nike, H&M, Adidas, New Balance, Burberry, and Puma.
So far, the boycott has not been very successful. Despite initial support, several Chinese e-commerce sites continued to sell the products of the companies in question.
Nike's offer via its own online store on Tmall for its latest women's shoes attracted 350,000 subscribers and the product was sold out.
Tmall is a business-to-consumer (B2C) online retail platform owned by the Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational founded by billionaire Jack Ma, who does not see eye-to-eye with Xi Jinping.
Another sign that nationalism is not guiding Chinese society is the fact that the China Football League (CFL) has not joined the campaign to boycott foreign brands. Like many Chinese professional football (soccer) clubs, the CFL has a multi-year contract with Nike.