China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection accused retail giant Walmart on Friday of "secretly" removing inventory from the Xinjiang region from its Sam's Club membership stores in the country, threatening "practical actions" from Chinese consumers there.
"All products from a region are removed from the shelves without a valid reason, with ulterior motives hidden behind them, exposing stupidity and short-sightedness, and will surely suffer the consequences," the commission said on its website Friday. "Suppressing and boycotting Xinjiang products is another "card" played by Western anti-China forces, and it is doomed to end in failure."
According to the commission, Walmart earns an estimated 1.04 billion yuan ($164 million) per year with Sam's Club membership fees that cost 260 yuan ($41) each.
"The eyes of the Chinese people are discerning, and the Chinese are also the most patriotic. Whoever cooperates sincerely can see clearly. China is Walmart's second largest overseas market," the statement said. "To gain a firm foothold in the Chinese market, it must show sufficient sincerity and attitude, respect facts, distinguish right from wrong, respect China's principled position, and respect the feelings of the Chinese people. Otherwise, the Chinese people and Chinese consumers will respond resolutely with practical actions."
The retailer did not respond to several news organizations seeking comment on the commission's statement.
According to a Reuters report Friday, Sam's Club started taking heat last week when photos surfaced on the social media platform Weibo showing products from Xinjiang missing on the store's online app.
The criticism expanded following President Joe Biden signing into law a bill that bans imports from that region due to forced labor concerns.
China has faced pressure from several Western nations, including the United States, following reports of abuse and genocide of the Uyghur population there.
According to the report, Walmart brings in an estimated $11.43 billion in sales from 423 retail locations, including 36 Sam's Club stores, in China.
Reuters said it conducted a search of goods from Xinjiang, like raisins, on the app Friday, but it did not yield "relevant results."
Walmart is not the only target of the Chinese government's ire.
Swedish clothing retailer H&M saw sales drop 23% in the second quarter of the year following a March Chinese consumer boycott in that country for not carrying products made in the region, Reuters reported.
Intel also was criticized by the Chinese government for telling its suppliers not to use products coming out of that part of China, according to the report.
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