Sep 17, 2020
H&M splits from Chinese supplier following Uyghur forced labour accusations
Sep 17, 2020
Swedish ready-to-wear giant H&M announced on Tuesday that it is cutting all ties with a Chinese yarn producer amid accusations of “forced labour” of Uyghurs in the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
The retailer said that it does not work with any clothing manufacturer in the region and that it will no longer source cotton from Xinjiang, China’s largest cotton producing area.
A report by think tank Australian Strategic Police Institute, published in March, named H&M as one of the beneficiaries of the forced labour industry due to its relationship with dyed yarn manufacturer Huafu which has a factory in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui.
H&M said in a statement that it had no connection to the factory in Anhui and no connection to Huafu’s operations in Xinjiang.
However, the Swedish business conceded that it did have, “an indirect commercial relationship with a mill,” located in Shangyu in the southern province of Zhejiang, owned by Huafu Fashion.
“Even though there is no sign of forced labour in the Shangyu mill, we have decided, while waiting to acquire more information on these allegations of forced labour, to phase out our business relationship with Huafu Fashion Co, regardless of the situation and speciality, for the next 12 months,” said the group, assuring that it would, “conduct an investigation into all of the garment manufacturers worked with in China.”
Uyghurs, Muslims, and Turkic language speakers constitute the main ethnic group in Xinjiang, a large province in the western region of China which has common borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A number of western countries and international organisations have accused Beijing of carrying out large-scale persecution of Uyghurs and of arbitrarily locking up over one million Muslims in camps in Xinjiang.
The US government announced on Monday that it will block the importation of a range of products originating from Xinjiang province, accusing Beijing of having used “forced labour” of the Uyghur Muslim minority there.
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