Netizens across China, led by the Communist Youth League Central Weibo and the Global Times, launched a boycott of foreign brands such as H&M, Nike and Adidas last week, sparking a public outcry in the West. However, a few days later, the boycott was resisted by the price cuts of these brands and a rush to buy them again in many places, while Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, who has always advocated xenophobia, even publicly asked the official media to cool down quickly.
Last week, Chinese netizens, guided and orchestrated by the official media, launched a boycott of products from well-known Swedish brand H&M and American sports brands Nike and Adidas. Some so-called patriotic netizens got emotional and chanted protest slogans outside H&M and other branches. Even Hong Kong and Taiwanese artists were involved in the boycott and were forced to take a stand as well as cancel their endorsement contracts for these brands. The official media accused some foreign brands of “eating China’s rice and smashing China’s pot” and said “Chinese netizens are angry”, which triggered a strong reaction from the international community.
Beijing-based current affairs commentator Zhao Gang said in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Monday that the authorities were concerned that the netizens’ actions had turned anti-government and were calming the situation: “A few days ago we saw netizens and celebrities in the entertainment industry coming out to abuse and boycott international brands like H&M and Nike, and so on, with a supposedly unfriendly attitude toward Xinjiang cotton. In the past few days, we have seen a dramatic reversal. Chinese consumers are lining up to buy H&M and Nike products, especially when these products are newly launched or discounted.”
Real public opinion is often obscured by official manipulation
Last Friday, the Jingdong shopping site opened for people to make reservations to buy, as of 9 p.m., attracted more than 346,000 people to make reservations to buy, 699 yuan NIKE women’s shoes, sold out within a minute of the sale. The next day, H&M 30% off the entire site, the goods were snapped up.
Zhao Gang said: “This phenomenon is the real public opinion. And the netizens’ verbal attacks on these international brands seem to be unanimous and unanimous, but we must see that these online statements, as well as media opinion, are actually manipulated by the authorities.”
Last Saturday and this Sunday, even Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, who has always taken a tough stance, commented on the matter on Weibo one after another, initially going along with the wind and joining the war, but softening his attitude in the last few posts, even calling for “not to block them” and “to be tolerant “The first Time the company was in the middle of the war, it was a very good idea.
Hu Xijin’s posting, in which he suggested that China’s official institutions, including social media accounts with clear official labels, should generally refrain from, or refrain from, participating in denunciations of the Western companies in question, and called on Chinese Communist Party officials to avoid becoming the leaders of the public opinion war, was met with thunderous criticism from netizens. At the same time, H&M China branch launched a 30% discount on clothing, Nike shoes online pre-order by customers crazy rush, and even out of stock.
National pride and patriotic enthusiasm are unbearable in front of interests
The Chinese society is far worse than in the past, and it can be described as a river that is falling: “A modern state or modern nation that has not established the idea of universal values and equality for all is not in place,” Song Yusheng, a political scientist at Hebei University, told the station. The people of this country have only one thing of value in their eyes, and that is profit. The other interest is that you just need to sell goods cheaply, and the so-called national pride and patriotic fervor are unbearable in front of interests.”
Left: Chinese merchants at Amazon are notified. Middle: A rush of boycotted foreign goods in China. Right: Amazon’s notice to merchants asking for proof that their products have nothing to do with Xinjiang cotton. (Web Photo)
Just as China’s official media called on the public to appeal to the people to cool down, the sanctions from overseas still did not stop. According to the Global Times, a Chinese netizen broke the news that Amazon, a well-known U.S. e-commerce platform, is likely to take down many cotton products from China, because according to U.S. government regulations, any cotton products exported to the United States can not contain cotton from Xinjiang, otherwise it is likely to be detained.
Online rumors of U.S. e-commerce Amazon to join the ranks of sanctions
A document suspected to be sent by Amazon to Chinese exporters circulated online, Amazon said that since 85% of China’s cotton comes from the Xinjiang region, so a guest asked Chinese merchants must provide such proof, otherwise cotton products from China are likely to be detained by U.S. Customs until the merchant can prove that the cotton is not from Xinjiang.
Current affairs commentator Chen Broken Sky said in his personal channel: “Now Amazon began to take action to take down these products or brands related to Xinjiang cotton fabrics, his way of taking down is quietly carried out, including Chinese companies and companies in various countries received a notice from Amazon that they must provide proof to prove that their goods do not contain Xinjiang cotton. “
China’s annual cotton production of about six million tons, of which more than eighty percent used to manufacture cotton fabrics, Amazon’s move will seriously affect the sales of cotton in Xinjiang, the annual amount of China’s exports to the United States of cotton fabrics amounted to five hundred billion yuan, of which about two hundred billion yuan of cotton fabrics using Xinjiang cotton. This will make China’s textile industry has been hit hard, but also affect China’s ability to generate foreign exchange exports. Some analysts believe that this is one of the reasons why Chinese official media rushed to cool down for the protest against famous foreign brands.