Fast Fashion Boycotted For Human Rights

Fast fashion giant H&M had a rapid decrease in sales in China after it was targeted in a human rights abuse boycott. China was about five percent of H&M's sales last year. As one of its biggest suppliers, H&M reported that sales in China were down 23 percent for its second quarter of 2021 compared to last year.

"With regards to China the situation remains complex. Beyond that we refer to what we have said before," Chief Executive Helena Helmersson said as H&M quantified for the first time the impact of the boycott.

The Chinese boycott was for human rights abuse against Uyghur Muslims in China's Xinjiang province, but it wasn't just H&M. Nike was also a large target for the boycott after alleged use of Uyghur forced labour in cotton production. Xinjiang is China's largest region and produces almost a fifth of the world's cotton. Uyghurs have been detained at camps where allegations of torture, forced labour and sexual abuse have emerged. China has denied these claims saying the camps are "re-education" facilities aimed at lifting Uyghurs out of poverty.

In March this year, several Western countries imposed sanctions on officials in China over rights abuses against the Uyghurs. The sanctions were introduced as a coordinated effort by the European Union, UK, US and Canada.