A recent investigation revealed that the famous brands Adidas, Puma, Hugo Boss, and various other brands contained cotton sourced from Xinjiang through slave labor by ethnic minorities persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Xinjiang is one of the five “autonomous provinces” of China, although, as in Tibet, the supposed autonomy has been entirely eradicated by the CCP.
The Chinese regime heavily persecutes the Uyghur ethnic group, who are the majority inhabitants of the region, and subjects them to slave labor in concentration camps.
The international clothing brand Hugo Boss had assured that its collections from October 2021 would be free of Xinjiang cotton. While Adidas said that same year that it had spoken to its suppliers to warn them not to trade in such cotton because of its slave labor origin.
Meanwhile, Puma assured in 2020 that it had no business relations with any manufacturers in the Xinjiang area.
However, a joint investigation between the European isotope analysis laboratory Agroisolab in Jülich and the Hochschule Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences in western Germany showed positive results for Xinjiang cotton in the analysis of fibers from garments of the three brands mentioned above.
In addition, traces of cotton from that region of China were found in clothing from the German Jack Wolfskin brand and fabrics from Tom Tailor.
The researchers were able to verify the origin of the cotton due to the specificity of the isotopes concerning each region. According to The Guardian, isotope analysis is often used to trace the geographical origin of organic or non-organic substances.
“The isotopic fingerprints in the cotton are unambiguous and can be differentiated from cotton sourced from other countries and even other Chinese regions,” said Markus Boner of Agroisolab.
The Guardian said it contacted Puma companies, who denied trading directly or indirectly with Xinjiang suppliers. Adidas and Hugo Boss also denied sourcing from that area, while Jack Wolfskin said its cotton was certified, without answering the direct question of whether it uses cotton from Xinjiang.
The United States banned cotton imports from Xinjiang last year
Former President Trump was one of the first to implement measures forcing importers and international firms to review their supply chains to prevent the marketing of products manufactured, in whole or in part, in clandestine sweatshops.
Among the most decisive measures is the blocking of all imports of cotton and tomato products produced in Xinjiang on suspicion of involvement in forced labor under long-standing U.S. laws to combat human trafficking, child labor, and other human rights abuses, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported.
On January 12, 2021, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also announced that the government will severely fine U.K. companies whose production chain is linked to forced Uighur labor.
Thirty-five legislators from countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, India, and others that make up the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance (IPAC) requested their respective countries to impose sanctions against individuals and companies that finance Uyghur labor enslaved by the Chinese communist regime.