A farmer harvests cotton in Hami, Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region of China. Getty Images.
A statement the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has had on its website since October 2020, announcing it was enacting a policy of “responsible disengagement” and would cease sourcing from China’s Xinjiang region amid reports of forced labour, has disappeared from its site.
The statement, and others related to it published by international fashion brands, has been the source of fierce backlash in China since late March, with widespread calls on Chinese social media to boycott brands, including H&M, Nike and Burberry, that have taken a stance against sourcing cotton from Xinjiang.
When reached for comment by BoF, a spokesperson for BCI said: “We will be communicating on this topic as soon as we are in a position to do so.”
To date, H&M remains unavailable on China’s largest e-commerce platforms, including Tmall, where it had a long-time flagship store.
In recent weeks Chinese television programmes, including popular reality shows “Youth With You” and “Sisters Who Make Waves” have also blurred the logos of foreign brands, such as Nike and Adidas, worn by contestants.