Western brands tested by China in backlash over forced labor allegation



Adela Suliman, Zixu Wang and William Langley | CBS News

After sharing a photo of herself on social media wearing a colorful shirt from the Swedish clothing giant H&M, Beijing resident Li Ang’ang got a torrent of comments urging her to delete the post and stop lending support to foreign powers seeking to “destroy China.”

Shrugging off the criticism, Li, 33, said she would continue to share fashion items she liked from Western brands, “as long as they are pretty and highly cost effective.”

But other Chinese consumers, social media influencers and celebrities have moved to boycott fashion retailers such as H&M,Nike and Burberry as Beijing pushes back with growing ferocity against allegations of human rights abuses and forced labor targeting the country’s Uyghur Muslim minority in Xinjiang — home to 20 percent of the world’s cotton supplies.

The backlash to the boycott has left Western companies in an uncomfortable position.

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