Nike, H&M and Zara have been accused by China of selling goods that could be harmful to children in the latest escalation of tensions between the country and western brands.
China’s General Administration of Customs published warnings on its website this morning accusing a number of western fashion brands of importing children’s clothes that posed potential health hazards.
According to the Chinese government, it found 81 items including children’s clothing, shoes, toys, toothbrushes and baby bottles during examinations carried out between June 2020 and May 2021 which contained “harmful substances” which could endanger health.
Many of the brands listed, which include Nike, Gap, H&M and Zara among other, have been the target of a government-backed boycott in China.
The boycott started in March when the UK, EU, US and Canada voted to impose sanctions on China amid ongoing reports of forced labour, mass sterilisation of women and a raft of other human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
In response to the sanctions, any brands who have stopped using cotton from the region or spoken out against alleged forced labour have been accused of spreading “lies and disinformation” about China and added to a ‘blacklist’.
Nike, Adidas, H&M, Gap, Fila, New Balance, Zara, Under Armour and numerous others were all added to the blacklist, while others like H&M have been all but wiped from China’s ecommerce landscape.
The US has accused China of running a state-sponsored “corporate and consumer boycott” against all Western brands that have refused to use cotton from the Xinjiang region.