Nike sees social media storm in China following Xinjiang statement

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Nike sees social media storm in China following Xinjiang statement


FILE PHOTO: The Nike swoosh logo is seen outside of the 5th Avenue store in New York, New York, United States, March 19, 2019. REUTERS / Carlo Allegri / File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – Anger at Nike Inc erupted on Chinese social media on Wednesday after Chinese netizens spotted a statement from the sporting goods giant saying it was “concerned” about reports of forced labor in Xinjiang and that he does not use cotton from the Region.

The topics surrounding Nike’s statement were among the highest trending on Chinese social media like Twitter Weibo on Thursday, and the social media storm had a wider fallout.

Popular Chinese actor Wang Yibo has terminated his contract as a Nike representative in response to social media criticism of his statement in Xinjiang, his agency said in a statement on Weibo on Thursday.

It was not known when Nike released its statement, which did not have a date, and Nike was not immediately available for comment.

“We are concerned about reports of forced labor in and related to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR),” Nike said in the statement.

“Nike does not source any products from XUAR and we have confirmed with our contracted suppliers that they do not use textiles or yarn from the region. “

It comes after the European Union, United States, Britain and Canada on Monday imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang. China retaliated by sanctioning EU lawmakers and institutions.

At least one Chinese online retailer appeared to abandon H&M products amid social media attacks on the Swedish company on Wednesday for saying it was “deeply concerned” by reports of forced labor in the far west region from Xinjiang.

Reporting by Ryan Woo; Edited by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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