Brands like Adidas and Nike are being blurred out on Chinese TV in retaliation for Xinjiang cotton comments

Julie Gerstein
·3 min read
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Contestants on the Chinese reality-TV competition "Youth With You" seen with the logo of their Adidas sportswear blurred out. QYI/Adidas
  • Chinese media has started blurring out logos of Western fashion brands.

  • It appears to be retaliation for brands expressing concerns about forced labor.

  • Nike and Adidas are among the brands that have been targeted.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Chinese media has been blurring out Western brands worn by its television stars following controversy over accusations of slave labor in Chinese factories.

As first reported by the BBC, Chinese networks and apps are struggling to censor the ubiquitous logos featured on many shows.

On the singing-competition show "Youth With You," for example, contestants practice in full Adidas kits, including Adidas Shell Toe shoes, track pants, and T-shirts emblazoned with the logo for the Adidas Neo line.

But for the latest episode of the show, all signs of the logo and identifying features of the clothing were blurred out - though in one scene, the editors appeared to miss some of the T-shirts:

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A video editor neglected to blur out some of the contestants' T-shirts. IQY

Adidas, along with Western retailers like Nike and H&M, have faced backlash in China for expressing concerns over forced labor in China's Xinjiang province.

Xinjiang is home to the Chinese Uyghur ethnic minority, which consists mostly of Muslims and has faced persecution by the Chinese government for the past several years.

The US government has classified China's actions against the Uyghur people as genocide.

The most recent fallout came after an old statement from H&M resurfaced on the Chinese social-media app Weibo. It said that the company would not work with any Chinese companies based in Xinjiang and that it was "deeply concerned by reports from civil society organizations and media that include accusations of forced labor."

The statement quickly went viral and resulted in an outcry on Wiebo, with people calling for boycotts. Products from H&M were pulled from online shopping platforms including Taobao, Alibaba, and Pinduoduo.

Days later, the company walked back its earlier criticisms, releasing a statement vowing a "long-term commitment" to China and a renewed effort to "regain the trust and confidence" of Chinese customers.

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On the reality show "Listen to Me," shoes worn by the Chinese actress Zhang Lanxin - believed to be Nike Air Jordan 1s - were also blurred. MangoTV



Weibo users also targeted Nike, which, along with other Western brands, including Walmart, Target, and Adidas, is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, a nonprofit group seeking to improve labor and environmental standards in the cotton industry.

Nike was among several brands, including Adidas, Gap, Fila, New Balance, Zara, and Under Armour, to express concern over news of forced labor in Xinjiang.

"We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region," an undated statement from the brand said. "Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region."

The Uyghur population has been targeted by Chinese authorities for years. More than a million Uyghurs have been held in hundreds of prison camps since 2016.

In retaliation for the statement, people on Weibo shared videos of themselves setting their Nikes on fire in protest, and Nike was added to a list of brands meant for boycott.

Read the original article on Insider