TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Chinese textile company that sources cotton from Xinjiang will be producing clothing for the next two Olympic games, though the company denies the gear will come from the region, according to an Axios report.
The Hengyuanxiang Group (HYX), which will be producing various off-the-field uniforms for both the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, sources cotton from Xinjiang, among other locations, based on its own descriptions of its products on Chinese e-commerce sites Taobao and JD.com.
Several hundred thousand Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are alleged to have been forced into labor in Xinjiang’s cotton fields; in addition, over 1 million more have been arbitrarily held in the region’s detention centers by some estimates.
While the International Olympic Committee told Axios that the HYX cotton used in the Olympics would be certified as having come from outside China, it neither named the certifying organization nor provided any documentation to the news outlet.
Xinjiang, which produces a fifth of the world’s cotton, is deeply enmeshed with supply chains that are difficult to trace let alone untangle, though as of late companies such as H&M and Nike have been pledging to do so, sparking fierce, state-led consumer backlash in China.
In January, the United States banned the import of cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns, while last month the U.S., U.K., EU, and Canada levied sanctions against Xinjiang officials and entities involved in a host of alleged human rights violations against the Uyghurs.