Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chinese fashion retailer Shein faces boycott for alleged Uyghur forced labour

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The Save Uyghur Organisation has targeted the Chinese online fast-fashion retailer Shein and started a boycott campaign, alleging it is involved in the forced labour of Uyghur Muslims in China, reported Voice of America (VOA). The Save Uyghur Organisation, powered by Chicago-based human rights organisation ‘Justice for All’, advocates for stopping “China’s genocide of the Uyghurs and other Turkic people of East Turkistan.”

As Muslims worldwide celebrate Eid ul-Fitr, the human rights organisation has called on Muslim women to boycott Shein, alleging it is involved in the forced labour of Uyghur Muslims in China.

Last week, the rights group stated on X, “TAKE ACTION – Boycott Alert for SHEIN Please share widely to boycott SHEIN during your shopping for #Eid. It is disappointing to see thousands of Muslim women/girls buy jilbabs from SHEIN despite widespread knowledge of their use of #UyghurForcedLabor.”

A jilbab is a full-length, loose-fitting, head-to-toe garment worn by some Muslim women that also covers the hands, VOA reported.

Arslan Hidayat, head of the Save Uyghur campaign, said that Shein’s alleged use of forced labour exacerbates oppression of the Uyghur people.

“It is crucial for Muslims to use their consumer power to protest against the use of forced labour and to demonstrate solidarity with the Uyghur community,” Hidayat told VOA.

“It is incumbent upon us to prioritise ethical consumption practices and advocate for justice for the Uyghur people,” Hidayat added.

However, Beijing denied that any forced labour exists in Xinjiang, according to VOA.

According to a Shein spokesperson, the retailer has a zero-tolerance policy for forced labour.

“We take visibility across our entire supply chain seriously, and we are committed to respecting human rights. To comply with US law, we require our contract manufacturers to only source cotton from approved regions,” the company spokesperson said.

Hidayat further noted that despite Ramazan being a month of sacrifice and spiritual reflection, many Muslims purchase prayer clothes from Shein during this time, reported VOA.

“Shein is a popular clothing brand founded in China for North American consumers. Particularly amongst Muslim communities, they are consistent customers because of its cheap prices for hijabs, abayas and jilbabs,” Hidayat said.

Shein has been promoting its products through social media influencers, including Muslims.

Established in 2012, Shein has evolved into a fast-fashion giant targeting Generation Z consumers outside China and is backed by California-based Sequoia Capital and China-based IDG Capital, reported VOA. 

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