The Chinese government has accused retail giant Walmart of “stupidity” after its subsidiary Sam’s Club allegedly sourced products from Xinjiang – a reaction that could become more likely if US companies respond to reports of forced labor in the area.
“Removing all products from a region without good reason hides an ulterior motive, reveals stupidity and myopia, and is sure to have dire consequences of its own,” the government said Friday, according to Reuters.
The statement came from the Communist Party’s Central Disciplinary Inspection Commission (CCDI), which alleged that Sam’s club was trying to “muddle through” the controversy while remaining silent.
Chinese outlets reported that Sam’s Club had removed Xinjiang products from its online app. Users had also posted screenshots of interactions in which customer service told them that products were out of stock, the Wall Street Journal reported.
WALMART WORKS PUBLIC CALL IN CHINA ON PRODUCTS FROM XINJIANG
Walmart did not respond to FOX Business’ request for comment and appeared to be relatively silent on the matter.
China’s strong indictment comes roughly a month before hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, which some Western nations are already boycotting. The Beijing event and a flurry of news reports have redirected the focus to supply chains that could benefit from forced labor.
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Late last month, President Biden signed a bipartisan law to block imports of Chinese goods from the Uyghur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. Several reports have indicated that Chinese authorities have been raping Uyghurs, including forced sterilization and abortion. Last year, the Trump administration formally accused China of genocide – something the nation has denied.
Tensions are likely to increase as Western companies are screened for their Beijing ties. H&M and other companies were also reportedly under pressure. Tech company Intel apologized to its Chinese partners and customers after informing suppliers that it cannot employ workers or source goods and services from Xinjiang.