Burberry has lost a Chinese brand ambassador and its signature Scottish motif removed from a popular video game, becoming the first luxury brand affected by China’s reaction to Western accusations of abuse in Xinjiang. China on Friday handed down sanctions against British interests and individuals, in retaliation for “lies” and “disinformation” about Xinjiang, days after Britain imposed sanctions for human rights violations. man in the Chinese region.
Burberry is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a group that promotes sustainable cotton production and said in October it was suspending support for cotton from Xinjiang, citing human rights concerns. Award-winning Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu has terminated her contract with Burberry as a brand ambassador because Burberry did not “clearly and publicly express its stance on Xinjiang cotton,” her agency said Thursday.
The company’s iconic Scottish motif has also been removed from clothing worn by characters in Tencent’s hugely popular “Honor of Kings” video game, according to a post on the game’s official Weibo account, earning praise from Tencent’s official Weibo account. Chinese Internet users. Burberry China did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters. Burberry’s cotton comes from the United States, Australia, Turkey, India and Egypt, according to its website.
The backlash – especially in social and traditional media – has also hit consumer brands like H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), Adidas and Nike, which had previously voiced criticism of working conditions in Xinjiang, the most major cotton producing region of China. UN human rights activists and experts have accused China of resorting to mass detention, torture, forced labor and sterilization of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. China denies these claims and says actions in the region are needed to counter extremism.
In a letter to British parliamentarians in November, Burberry said it has no business in Xinjiang and does not work with vendors based in that region, adding that it does not tolerate any form of modern slavery. at its suppliers, including forced labor, servitude or involuntary labor in prison.
In a statement released on Friday, the Chinese National Textile and Clothing Council urged international brands to stop their “bad behavior,” including excluding Xinjiang cotton from their supply chain, out of respect for Chinese customers.