Tokyo Olympics uniforms were beaten for the compound of China’s Uyghur labor camp in Xinjiang region
Australia unveils its new Olympic uniforms for the upcoming Tokyo Games – but criticized for having a ‘disgusting and shameful’ link to China
- New Australian uniforms for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics have been unveiled
- The design has been well received, but a Chinese connection has been discovered
- They use cotton from the Xinjiang region, where Uyghurs are held in labor camps
Australian Olympians became embroiled in the global fight over Chinese cotton for forced labor on Wednesday when the country unveiled its uniforms for the upcoming Games in Tokyo.
The Australian Olympic Committee was criticized when it launched ASICS-branded sportswear, with the company faced with questions about the use of cotton from the Xinjiang region.
“We have been assured that none of the cotton for the Australian Olympic team comes from that region,” said Ian Chesterman, vice president of the Australian Olympic Committee.
“I think athletes should focus on what their job is right now, which is to go out and compete for Australia,” he said at a press conference.
Volleyball players Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho pose in the Olympic Team uniform
The Australian Olympic Committee has been criticized for sportswear modeled by rower Lucy Stephan
Pentathlon champion Marina Carrier shows off the new green and gold uniform
Rugby player Henry Hutchison poses in the new Olympic outfit
At least a million Uyghurs and people from other mainly Muslim groups are believed to have been held in camps in Xinjiang, northwest China.
Human rights groups, independent media and foreign governments have found evidence that local authorities have carried out mass detention, forced labor, political indoctrination, torture and forced sterilization.
The United States has described the situation as genocide and has banned all cotton from Xinjiang. The Australian Parliament is considering a similar move.
Several major fashion brands recently announced that they would no longer use cotton from Xinjiang – fearing it was produced by forced labor.
But ASICS was one of several companies – hoping to secure access to the vast Chinese market – that initially responded to the allegations by vowing to “ continue to buy and support Xinjiang cotton. ”
The costume, worn by basketball player Katie Ebzery, has been accused of using cotton from the Xinjiang region
Nathan Ruser, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, was one of the critics who described the use of ASICS sportswear in Australia as ‘disgusting and embarrassing’.
An ASICS spokesperson told AFP on Wednesday that the original corporate statement on Chinese social media was ‘unauthorized’ and did not represent ‘our official company position on the matter’.
“We are fully committed to working closely with business partners to ensure that human rights are respected and environmental standards are upheld at all times,” said the spokesperson.
As seen on rugby Gold medalist Charlotte Caslick, the outfit has been slammed by activists
Olympians such as sailor Lisa Darmanin (pictured) have been asked to think about who made their costume
The Chinese government has denied committing violations of rights, but companies that raised concerns have been punished.
Swedish fashion retailer H&M disappeared from Chinese store apps and became the target of a boycott.
Chinese state-run tabloid The Global Times said on Tuesday that ASICS had become “ the last target of a boycott by Chinese customers ” and faced “ catastrophic losses ” after revisiting its original statement.
China is one of the world’s largest suppliers of cotton, accounting for about a fifth of the world’s total.
Almost 90 percent of China’s cotton is believed to come from Xinjiang.
Lucy Stephan and Jake Birtwhistle pose in the controversial ensemble in Sydney
“I don’t think an Australian athlete wants to wear a uniform made by a company that sources cotton from Xinjiang,” said Elaine Pearson, director of Human Rights Watch in Australia.
“This is a test case for companies like ASICS about how committed they are to upholding human rights principles,” she said.
“They need to do their due diligence and report transparently on their supply chain.”
“The Chinese government is showing its true nature by pressuring companies to be complicit in abuses rather than working to end violations against Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims,” Pearson added.
Australian athletes pose during the unveiling of the Australian Olympic Team Tokyo 2020 uniform