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Nike faces social media storm in China over Xinjiang statement

EconomyMar 25, 2021 03:50AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Nike swoosh logo is seen outside the store on 5th Ave in New York

BEIJING (Reuters) -Anger with Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) erupted on Chinese social media late on Wednesday after China's netizens spotted a statement from the sporting goods giant saying it was "concerned" about reports of forced labour in Xinjiang and that it does not use cotton from the region.

Topics around the Nike statement were among the highest trending on China's Twitter-like social media Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) on Thursday, and the social media backlash had a wider fallout.

Popular Chinese actor Wang Yibo terminated his contract as a representative for Nike in response to social media criticism over the company's Xinjiang statement, his agency said on Weibo on Thursday.

It was unclear when Nike had put out the statement, which did not have a date on it. Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

"Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region."

The social media fallout comes as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated in recent years.

In the latest development, the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada on Monday imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. China retaliated with sanctions on European lawmakers and institutions.

Earlier this week, at least one Chinese online retailer appeared to drop H&M's products amid social media attacks on the Swedish company for saying it was "deeply concerned" about reports of forced labour in Xinjiang.

Activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labour and sterilisations in Xinjiang. China has denied these claims and says it is providing vocational training, and that its measures are needed to fight extremism.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times urged Western companies on Wednesday to be "highly cautious" and not to "suppress China's Xinjiang" in a social media post.

To do so would "undoubtedly arouse the anger of the Chinese public," he added. He did not single out any companies.

Nike faces social media storm in China over Xinjiang statement
 

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Comments (11)
Darren Ikin
Darren Ikin Mar 25, 2021 7:19AM ET
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the paid actors are out in force in these comments
Gerald Zhang
Gerald Zhang Mar 25, 2021 4:41AM ET
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China could able to kick out all American companies
Pat Mathieu
Pat Mathieu Mar 25, 2021 4:39AM ET
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Algorythm censored my comment, I guess we're not allowed to use hisslamique and inpeerialishm together
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Mar 25, 2021 4:13AM ET
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White American is racist to the core
Edmund Liew
Edmund Liew Mar 25, 2021 4:13AM ET
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china chinese is sensitive to the core
Edmund Liew
Edmund Liew Mar 25, 2021 4:13AM ET
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chinese is sensitive to the core
Gerald Zhang
Gerald Zhang Mar 25, 2021 4:13AM ET
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black lives matters
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Mar 25, 2021 4:13AM ET
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You must be a Taiwanese
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Mar 25, 2021 4:13AM ET
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Liew.. I m stunt by your comment.. Anyway I ain't no China Chinese.. I m a bots.. Got no blood flowing through me only alcohol
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Mar 25, 2021 4:08AM ET
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Poor rich Americans, anyway Nike is going lose a lot money, just close your shop in China and move away.. China don't need you
De Will
WhatMatters Mar 25, 2021 4:08AM ET
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China bots alive and well coming out of the woodwork to defend the world’s most oppressive regime.
Robert Sharp
Robert Sharp Mar 25, 2021 2:31AM ET
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Just waiting for the NBA to ban all brands NOT using Xinjiang cotton.. the NBA loves the Chinese gubment
Kevin Tortoise
Kevin Tortoise Mar 25, 2021 12:04AM ET
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Lebron ****
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy Mar 24, 2021 11:38PM ET
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I applaud the sanctions countries are placing in china from the evidence they gathered of their *****treatment of the Uyghur people. Chinas fear and hate of an entire popukation must be condemed! The Uyghur people must be allowed to move to central china to work and live.
David David
David9 Mar 24, 2021 11:38PM ET
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Can you provide evidence? we waiting....
Jason Patcher
Jason Patcher Mar 24, 2021 11:38PM ET
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the evidence is the lack of any video or coverage. china can only pick on minorities or monks
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Mar 24, 2021 11:38PM ET
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Jason, are you talking American too, who whack all those poor old Asian folks in the street? As I say American is sick to core, try bullying the Arabs.. You will get blood in the streets tomorrow
Gerald Zhang
Gerald Zhang Mar 24, 2021 11:38PM ET
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China is not a good place for Uyghur They should all send to America
Kaihao Jin
Kaihao Jin Mar 24, 2021 11:38PM ET
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Shorted Nike Free Money:)
David David
David9 Mar 24, 2021 11:17PM ET
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I just read the new China report in human rights violations in the US... and they look to be very true.... go search for it because main stream media doesn't want you to read it...
David David
David9 Mar 24, 2021 11:17PM ET
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I don't want to believe but it is very convincing because I do see asian racism, black lives matters, the rich is getting richer... tell me which of these are not true?
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy Mar 24, 2021 11:17PM ET
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David wong if you believed the garbage you peddle you wouldnt be spending your time on english websites, youd be spending it on the sites where you oivr: china.
Jason Patcher
Jason Patcher Mar 24, 2021 11:17PM ET
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human rights problems everywhere. your logic *******.. we should be working to help them all not use suffering to justify more suffering
David David
David9 Mar 24, 2021 11:11PM ET
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I have told you guys once, I have told you guys twice... when the China Lion Roars... worldwide markets will have to crumble....
VietAnh Tran
VietAnh Tran Mar 24, 2021 11:11PM ET
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China no lion, china rat.
David David
David9 Mar 24, 2021 11:11PM ET
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VietAnh Tran If China is a rat....then examined to me how could the rat Roar? When she Roars....we see a sea of red across all markets....a rat can't do that... maybe Vietnam is a Rat...
Gary SKY saw
Gary SKY saw Mar 24, 2021 11:11PM ET
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Vietanh, if you are a Vietnamese, remember your roots, just because Vietnam is doing well, you getting snobbish.. Which country came and bomb your country during Vietnam War, which country help you guys from behind?
Gerald Zhang
Gerald Zhang Mar 24, 2021 11:11PM ET
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David David no vietnam is monkey
 
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