(New York) A group of US lawmakers has called on the Wall Street Constable to demand an independent investigation into allegations of Uyghur forced labor against several listed clothing companies, including Nike and Adidas, or which could be, like the Chinese Shein.
In letters addressed to the various companies concerned, which AFP was able to consult, the commission in charge of “strategic competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party”, expressed concern that the targeted companies were able to provide in Xinjiang in clothing or raw materials, such as cotton.
The elected officials assure the CEOs of Nike and Adidas in particular that an expert heard during a hearing specifically cited them.
“We wish to give the possibility” to the two groups, write the parliamentarians, “to respond to these serious accusations and provide information” likely to demonstrate that they comply with American legislation in the matter, citing fifteen specific points.
The committee also specifically targets the Chinese groups Temu and Shein.
Founded in 2008 in China and currently based in Singapore, Shein has become one of the symbols of very inexpensive fashion.
The group is regularly accused, like other big names in textiles, of profiting from the exploitation of members of the Uyghur Muslim minority in cotton fields and workshops in the Xinjiang region of western China.
But Shein assures that he has no suppliers in this area, and has no plans to go public.
“Although Shein claims that its products do not use forced Uyghur labor and that they work with third parties to audit their facilities, experts say these types of audits are easily manipulated or tampered with under pressure from authorities. “Write the parliamentarians, Democrats and Republicans, in a letter sent Monday to the agency supervising the stock markets (SEC).
Also, if rumors of Shein’s possible listing on the New York Stock Exchange by the end of the year are confirmed, and considering the “credible allegations of using underpaid and forced labor” , the SEC must require an independent firm to verify that the group does not use forced Uyghur labor, ask the 24 lawmakers who signed the letter.
In a message to AFP, Shein writes that he has “no suppliers in the Xinjiang region”, but in other regions such as Brazil, southern China and Turkey.
“We take visibility across our entire supply chain seriously and are committed to respecting human rights and adhering to local laws in every market we operate in,” the company said, noting that its suppliers must also “adhere to a strict code of conduct”.
“We have zero tolerance for forced labor,” Shein also wrote.
The Chinese authorities are accused by Western countries of having massively locked up Uyghurs in re-education camps, after bloody attacks in the Xinjiang region.