In a recent interview with Swedish media Expressen, Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou talks about the recent Chinese boycott of Swedish H&M after the clothing giant assured that it does not use cotton from the Xinjiang region.
Expressen states that the ambassador several times in various interviews has denied forced labor in the Xinjiang province and that Muslim Uighurs are persecuted and put in “retraining camps”. In the recent interview, the Ambassador says that “some individuals fabricate lies about Xinjiang.”
When asked what H&M should do to normalize their operations in China, the Ambassador says, “It is easy. They should not listen to the lies of a few people and not politicize normal business. Their operations in China must be based on market conditions and take an objective view. Then they are welcome in China.”
Amnesty International and several other organizations have in testimonies pointed to abuses in Xinjiang led by the Chinese state but Ambassador Gui Congyou claims that H&M has lied.
“There are thousands of foreign companies operating in China. They did not listen. But only H&M listened to lies about forced labor in Xinjiang. This is an issue that they should reflect on,” he says.
During Expressen’s interview, The ambassador repeatedly urges H&M not to politicize its operations. “Do not listen to lies”, he says with an address to H & M’s management with CEO Helena Helmersson in Stockholm.
If the boycott remains in China it would be a hard blow for H&M. China is H&M’s fourth-largest market and sales there during the financial year, which ended in November last year, amounted to SEK 9.7 billion.