21:46 GMT17 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The H&M fashion brand said Wednesday there was nothing political about how it managed the global supply chain after an old statement about stopping business with a cotton supplier in the Xinjiang province sparked a backlash on social media.

    "H&M Group has always managed our global supply chain based on the principle of transparency, to ensure our suppliers around the world can adhere to the OECD Guidelines for Responsible Business Conduct. It does not represent any political stance", it said on the Weibo social media site.

    The Swedish clothing retailer said it was working with more than 350 suppliers from China and did not purchase cotton from any suppliers directly. The group promised to continue to respect Chinese consumers, adding it was dedicated to its long-term investment and growth in China.

    H&M’s original statement was published in September but was dragged back into the spotlight by China’s Communist Youth League, which accused the company of "spreading rumors to boycott cotton from Xinjiang, while trying to make money from China."

    The post made a splash on social media, with many users calling for H&M to "get out" of China. A Sputnik correspondent in China said H&M goods were absent Wednesday from the popular online shopping website Taobao.

    Earlier in the week, the European Union and the United States announced sanctions on several Chinese officials after accusing them of forcing Uighur Muslims in the far-western Xinjiang region into hard labor camps, purportedly as a means of fighting extremism and providing them with vocational training.

    Tags:
    Social media, cotton, Xinjiang, China, H&M
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