The Chinese government welcomed President Joe Biden to office by sanctioning 28 former Trump administration officials (and their families) on Inauguration Day. Since then, the Chinese Communist Party has continued to test the new administration to assess whether it is prepared to defend American interests.
Many security experts predicted the next sizing up from the party leadership in Beijing would be in the Taiwan Straits. Instead, it is turning its ire toward the boardrooms of some of the most prominent retail brands produced by the United States and its close allies.
Leading companies around the world are reviewing their supply chains to make sure they aren’t indirectly or directly involved in the CCP’s systematic campaign of atrocities against the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang (a territory the CCP has claimed to be a part of China only since the murderous reign of Mao Zedong). The U.S. under Donald Trump recognized the seriousness of these crimes by imposing sanctions in July and, in January, declaring that the abuses constituted genocide.
Corporations are particularly concerned that Beijing is using Uyghurs for forced labor, and that such labor could be involved in their supply chains, given how much global manufacturing takes place in China. Popular Western brands like H&M and Adidas have taken steps to make sure the supply chains for their products don’t include material sourced to Beijing’s forced labor complex. H&M, for example, has said it would stop buying cotton from Xinjiang.