fredag 26. mars 2021

As Xinjiang cotton row rages, European firms ‘caught between rock and hard place’

European companies in China are facing an increasingly politicised business environment, a leading trade group said on Thursday. “On the one side, public opinion in Europe is demanding that companies demonstrate clear and transparent corporate social responsibility principles,” the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said. “On the other, they are potentially subjected to public backlash in China if, through showing that they are acting responsibly and that their supply chains are beyond reproach, they are perceived to be saying something that is ‘anti-China’.”

The chamber, which represents more than 1,700 companies, issued the statement as Swedish multinational clothing retailer H&M is facing a boycottafter saying last year that it did not source cotton from Xinjiang. China has been accused of using forced labour in its far western region, with Uygur workers being transferred away from their homes to pick cotton. Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in January accused Beijing of “genocide and crimes against humanity” for its treatment of Uygur Muslims in the region.