Better Cotton Initiative statement on Xinjiang disappears from website

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A farmer harvests cotton in Hami, China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Getty Images.

A statement the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has been posting on its website since October 2020, announcing it has a policy of “responsible withdrawal” and would stop buying from China’s Xinjiang region amid reports of forced labor, has disappeared from its site.

The statement, and other related, published by international fashion brands, has been the source of strong backlash in China since late March, with widespread calls on Chinese social media to boycott brands, including H&M, Nike and Burberry, taking a stand . against the sourcing of cotton from Xinjiang.

When BoF was approached for comment, a BCI spokesperson said, “We will communicate on this topic as soon as we are able to.”

To date, H&M is still not available on China’s largest e-commerce platforms, including Tmall, where it had a long-standing flagship store.

In recent weeks, Chinese television programs, including popular reality shows “Youth With You” and “Sisters Who Make Waves”, have also blurred the logos of foreign brands, such as Nike and Adidas, worn by participants.