Li Ning, Chinese domestic apparel and sportswear brand, was under backlash after its winter collection resembled Japanese forces’ uniform in World War II.
According to the Chinese edition of the Epoch Times, Chinese internet users criticize Li Ning’s newly-released winter collection, particularly the headgear, for having the same look as the hat worn by Japanese soldiers during the invasion of China.
Social media was filled with angry comments, saying the company’s collection was a “humiliation of China” and calling for a boycott of the brand.
The collection launched in late September, but the public outcry on Chinese social platforms took several weeks to develop.
Li Ning’s stock price fell by over 13% and lost 4.31% on Monday, October 17, a record low in almost five months. The decline continued on the Hang Seng Index on Tuesday.
According to Indian media, the Campaign, Li-Ning issued a statement on Wednesday, apologizing for the incident and thanking Chinese consumers for their feedback.
Li Ning explained the controversial “headgear” design, saying, “the design of the flight cap originated from ancient Chinese helmets, outdoor protective hats and cotton caps, presented [in] various colors and styles, with professional functions such as wind protection and keeping warm.”
After Li Ning issued an apology statement, Li Ning’s share price continued to decline the next day, falling 6.45% for the day.
In China, the regime-controlled media often promotes anti-Japan propaganda, inciting nationalism among the Chinese against Japan.
Reuters reported in 2013 that the Chinese communist regime produces about 200 anti-Japan films yearly.
Li Ning faced criticism from human rights activists in 2021 for allegedly using cotton from Xinjiang, where the region’s forced labor of members of minority groups reportedly has taken place.
Norway then banned the company due to the “unacceptable risk” of contributing to human rights harm in Xinjiang.
Swedish clothing brand H&M faced boycotts in China last year when the company expressed concern about reports of slave labor in Xinjiang.