H&M faces boycott in China over Uighur issue

Swedish clothing retailer H&M faces growing calls for a boycott in China over its stance on alleged human rights abuses of minority Uighurs in the country.

Many posts on social media are calling on consumers not to buy H&M products. The firm has also been removed from a major e-commerce website.

H&M announced last September it would no longer procure cotton from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The firm cited accusations that Chinese suppliers benefitted from forced Uighur labor.

On Wednesday, the youth league of the Communist Party and the state-run China Central Television criticized H&M online, saying the firm's action is based on rumors.

The criticism came after the European Union imposed sanctions on Monday on four Chinese officials and an entity over alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Beijing announced its own sanctions against EU lawmakers and organizations in retaliation.

The latest development apparently stoked criticism about H&M. The company issued an online statement saying that it does not represent any political position and it respects Chinese consumers.

Sports gear makers Nike and Adidas also face a barrage of criticism on social media after announcing that they will not procure materials from the autonomous region.