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Pin to quick picksBurberry Share News (BRBY)

Share Price Information for Burberry (BRBY)

London Stock Exchange
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Share Price: 2,253.00
Bid: 2,252.00
Ask: 2,254.00
Change: 8.00 (0.36%)
Spread: 2.00 (0.09%)
Open: 2,258.00
High: 2,267.00
Low: 2,245.00
Yest. Close: 2,245.00
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UPDATE 5-China warns firms not to engage in politics over Xinjiang

Mon, 29th Mar 2021 03:05

* Foreign firms face boycotts in China over Xinjiang cotton

* Xinjiang officials reject accusations of human rights
abuses

* U.S. says boycotts are "state-led"

* UN experts urge firms to closely scrutinise their supply
chains
(Adds statement by U.N. experts in paragraphs 6-8)

By Cate Cadell

BEIJING, March 29 (Reuters) - Chinese officials on Monday
said Sweden's H&M and other foreign brands should not
make rash moves or step into politics after the companies raised
concerns about forced labour in Xinjiang, sparking a furious
online backlash and boycotts.

H&M, Burberry, Nike, Adidas and
other Western brands have been hit by consumer boycotts in China
since last week over comments about their sourcing of cotton in
Xinjiang. The growing rift comes as the United States and other
Western governments increase pressure on China over suspected
human rights abuses in the Chinese province.

"I don't think a company should politicize its economic
behaviour," said Xu Guixiang, a Xinjiang government spokesman,
at a news conference on Monday morning. "Can H&M continue to
make money in the Chinese market? Not anymore."

"To rush into this decision and get involved in the
sanctions is not reasonable. It's like lifting a stone to drop
it on one's own feet," he said.

H&M did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In Geneva, U.N. human rights experts voiced concerns about
alleged detention and forced labour of Muslim Uighurs in China
and called for global and domestic companies to "closely
scrutinise their supply chains".

They had received information that "connected over 150
domestic Chinese and foreign domiciled companies" to serious
allegations of human rights abuses against Uighur workers, the
experts said in a statement that did not name the companies.

“Uyghur workers have allegedly been forcibly employed in
low-skilled, labour-intensive industries, such as agribusiness,
textile and garment, automotive and technological sectors,” said
Dante Pesce, chair of the U.N. working group on business and
human rights, using a different spelling for the word Uighur.

Chinese social media users last week began circulating a
2020 statement by H&M announcing it would no longer source
cotton from Xinjiang.

H&M said at the time the decision was due to difficulties
conducting credible due diligence in the region and after media
and human rights groups reported the use of forced labour in
Xinjiang - a charge that Beijing has repeatedly denied.

Elijan Anayat, another Xinjiang government spokesman, said
during the briefing that Chinese people did not want the
products of companies such as H&M and Nike that have boycotted
Xinjiang's cotton. He said he would welcome companies taking
trips to the region's cotton fields to see them for themselves.

WESTERN SANCTIONS

Washington on Friday condemned what it called a state-led
social media campaign in China against U.S. and other
international companies for committing not to use cotton from
Xinjiang.

The wave of consumer boycotts in China has coincided with a
coordinated set of sanctions imposed by Britain, Canada, the
European Union and the United States last week over what they
say are human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang. The U.S.
government has publicly accused Beijing of genocide against the
Uighur Muslim ethnic minorities in the region.

Xu repeatedly rejected accusations of genocide and human
rights abuses in the region and accused the Western powers of
engaging in political manipulation to destabilise China with the
sanctions.

"They have lost their minds and their conscience, they are
enthusiastic about political manipulation and the abuse of
sanctions, to a level that is hysterical," said Xu.

Anayat said: "Their real purpose by fabricating the issue of
genocide is to disrupt security and stability in China."

The United States in January announced an import ban on all
cotton and tomato products from the area due to allegations of
forced labour from detained Uighur Muslims.

Western governments and rights groups have previously
accused authorities in the far-western region of detaining and
torturing Uighurs in camps, where some former inmates have said
they were subject to ideological indoctrination.

China has repeatedly denied all such charges and say the
camps are for vocational training and combating religious
extremism.
(Reporting by Cate Cadell, additional reporting by Anna
Ringstrom in Stockholm and Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva; writing
by Se Young Lee; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Gerry Doyle and Susan
Fenton)

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