Hugo Boss, the renowned German fashion house, is currently facing a significant boycott by Chinese consumers and celebrities. A number of influential Chinese celebrities, including actor-singer Li Yifeng, have publicly declared their decision to sever ties with Hugo Boss. Li Yifeng specifically stated that he would only collaborate with brands that unequivocally support and source cotton exclusively from China’s Xinjiang region. This move comes as a direct response to ongoing Western allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang.

For several years, activists and United Nations rights experts have been accusing China of various human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, including mass detainment, torture, forced labor, and sterilizations targeting Uighur Muslims. In contrast, China has consistently denied these allegations and asserted that its actions in Xinjiang are a necessary measure to combat extremism.

Initially, Hugo Boss released a statement on its Weibo account, a popular Chinese microblogging website, expressing its commitment to “continue to purchase and support Xinjiang cotton.” However, the brand later retracted the statement, indicating that it had been unauthorized and subsequently deleted. In an email response to Reuters, Hugo Boss spokesperson Carolin Westermann clarified that the official position of the company is that they have not procured any goods from the Xinjiang region. On its Weibo account, the brand released a subsequent statement reaffirming its dedication to maintaining longstanding relationships with its partners in China.

Despite these efforts, Chinese internet users condemned Hugo Boss, accusing the brand of being “two-faced” and reneging on its original position. Many individuals expressed their intention to permanently boycott the brand. This incident is part of a larger social media campaign in China that targets international companies that have publicly declared their refusal to use cotton sourced from Xinjiang due to concerns over forced labor.

The United States government has condemned this state-led campaign and has imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for their involvement in human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Other companies, such as New Balance, Under Armour, Tommy Hilfiger, and Converse, have also faced backlash in China due to their statements regarding Xinjiang cotton. The World Uyghur Congress, a representative group for ethnic Uighurs, considers this a moral test for companies, urging them to choose between respecting human rights or supporting the Chinese Communist Party.

Please note that Fashion Network is not the original source of this article. We have rewritten, rephrased, and expanded the content to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation surrounding Hugo Boss and the controversy in China.

Useful links:
1. [UN Human Rights Office – Xinjiang](https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26640&LangID=E)
2. [End Uyghur Forced Labor Campaign](https://www.enduyghurforcedlabour.org/)