Walmart store chain sparks outrage in China after reports stopped offering Xinjiang products

Published:

Dec 28, 2021 13:39 GMT

The claims came to light days after Joe Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans imports from that Chinese region.

The American chain of stores Walmart faces growing criticism from users of Chinese social networks who claim that the world’s largest retailer has stopped offering in its stores in the Asian giant products from the Xinjiang region, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Last week, numerous Internet users shared images on Weibo and other platforms showing that items produced in the region, such as apples, were not available at Walmart stores and its subsidiary Sam’s Club. Some users noted that planned to cancel their Sam’s Club memberships, while entities backed by the Chinese authorities criticized the company, reports the media.

A review of the chain’s online stores in China found no products made in Xinjiang. However, some products from the region were found in a Walmart store in Beijing. Until now, the company has not commented on the information.

Ban on imports from Xinjiang

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The claims came to light days after US President Joe Biden signed the Uighurs Forced Labor Prevention Act on Thursday, which bans imports from Xinjiang, unless the companies prove that the products were not made with forced labor from the Uighur ethnic group, who live in this region in the north-west of the country.

“We will continue to do everything possible to restore the dignity of those who yearn for freedom from forced labor,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, urging the Chinese government to “put an immediate end to genocide and crimes against humanity against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang. “

Response from China

For its part, Beijing denounced that the regulation “seriously violates international law and the basic rules governing international relations. “The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that the measure” maliciously denigrates the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang without taking into account the facts and the truth. “” China deplores and strongly rejects it, “he added.

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“It is absurd for the United States, a country with a deplorable record on human rights, to accuse and defame China,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry continued, noting that the North American country “has serious problems of human trafficking and forced labor.” “In the last five years, up to 100,000 people have been brought into the United States for forced labor,” he added.

Reaction of American companies

Apple and Nike were among the US companies that lobbied against the legislation before its passage, arguing that could cause supply chain disruptions. The apple company said it condemned forced labor and had investigated its suppliers in China and found “no evidence of forced labor on Apple’s production lines.”

Last week, chipmaker Intel apologized to the Asian giant after ordering its suppliers not to source products from Xinjiang.

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