The House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that it has launched investigations into major clothing brands such as Nike and Adidas for allegedly selling products made from Chinese slave labor.
On Tuesday, the committee sent letters to the CEOs of Nike, Adidas, and SHEIN with a series of questions aimed at unearthing the companies’ potential use and distribution of products made from forced Uyghur labor. A letter was also sent to the president of Temu, an online marketplace, with similar inquiries.
“On March 23, 2023, [this committee] held a hearing titled, ‘The Chinese Communist Party’s Ongoing Uyghur Genocide,'” the letters to Nike and Adidas read. At the hearing, according to the letter, members “received written testimony in which an expert assessed that ‘American companies are financing the state-sponsored forced labor programs in the Uyghur Region.’ We seek additional information regarding this matter.”
For context, Uyghur Muslims are a religious minority under persecution in Xinjiang, China. It’s estimated that the CCP has detained roughly 2 million Uyghurs in internment camps, where they are forced to experience routine brainwashing that’s marketed as “reeducation.” Meanwhile, Uyghur women are reportedly forced to undergo sterilization and abortions.
In their letter to Nike, Committee Chair and GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin and Democrat Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois note how one expert told the committee that the sportswear company is “sourcing garments made not only from cotton from the Uyghur Region but also viscose, lyocell, polyester, leather, and linen from the region.”
“Continuing to import goods produced in part with the forced labor of Uyghurs potentially violates the [Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act] and creates the conditions in which the CCP is able to continue committing genocide,” the letter reads. Signed into law in December 2021, the UFLPA prohibits the importation of “all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.”
According to a March 2020 report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, roughly 600 Uyghur workers from China’s Xinjiang province were “employed” at Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. Ltd, whose “primary customer is the American multinational company Nike Incorporated.” While Nike has denied it sources products from the Uyghur Region, the sportswear company partnered with Coca-Cola and Apple in November 2020 to lobby against the UFLPA.
Nike CEO John Donahoe has also defended his company’s relationship with communist China, reportedly saying in a June 2021 phone call with Wall Street analysts that “Nike is a brand that is of China and for China.”
[READ: Is The Entire Democratic Party Compromised By China?]
As noted in their letters to the aforementioned companies, congressional lawmakers are seeking information related to each manufacturer’s supply chains and practices, such as a “detailed description of the steps” the companies have taken to ensure they aren’t distributing products made with forced Chinese labor. The select committee has also requested that each company preserve documents and communication records related to its inquiry.
“The Committee is deeply troubled by the reports of corporate complicity raised by our witnesses and will be examining their concerns about American companies,” Gallagher said in a statement.
The House Select Committee on the CCP has given Nike, Adidas, SHEIN, and Temu until May 16 to respond to its questions and related inquiries.