Tags: China | waltz | china | imports | uyghurs | xinjiang

Rep. Waltz: Companies 'Hypocritical' After Lobbying Against China Bill

women walk by a neon nike sign in china
Women walk by a Nike store at a shopping area on March 25, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 25 March 2021 03:51 PM

Rep. Michael Waltz Thursday railed about companies that are now making a push against the imports of products made from slave labor in China's Xinjiang province after they lobbied against a Congressional bill last fall to prohibit the import of goods made by Muslim minorities. 

"I want to call out Nike in particular," the Florida Republican said on Fox Business's "Mornings with Maria." "Nike, Apple, Adidas, Coca-Cola lobbied against a bill we had in Congress last year banning imports from the Xinjiang province...social justice applies around the world."

Waltz said he appreciates that companies are worried about earnings, "but at some point, you have to take a stand, a moral stand, and I'm going to continue to call out their hypocrisy."

Last fall, the companies lobbied Congress to weaken a House bill, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which imposed restrictions related to the Chinese province.

The bill passed the House by a margin of 406 to 3, but the companies said the measure could disrupt their supply chains, even though they did condemn forced labor and other atrocities in Xinjiang. 

His comments came after the Chinese state media newspaper, Global Times took aim at Nike and H&M, and other brands, after their calls to stop using cotton from the province.

"Good on H&M for speaking out about the slave labor, the genocide, the forced sterilization of Uyghur women," said Waltz. "These people as you know are being lined up, heads shaved, being loaded into railcars, and mass interned and tortured, and forced into slave labor."

The New York Times reported Thursday that H&M is facing a boycott, while Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Converse, Adidas, and Calvin Klein have lost brand ambassadors and Burberry gave up an online video game partnership after Chinese online activists have joined a call to punish companies that want to block the use of Chinese cotton. 

Nike, in a statement on its website, https://purpose.nike.com/statement-on-xinjiang said that it "does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region."

Waltz on Thursday also accused the Biden administration of "already showing its weakness" on China after last weekend's contentious meetings between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and members of the Chinese foreign ministry in Alaska. 

"To allow themselves to be lectured for 15 minutes on the world stage on U.S. soil was just disgraceful," said Waltz. "They should have gotten up and walked away. I guarantee Mike Pompeo, President (Donald) Trump, Robert O'Brien wouldn't have stood for that in the previous administration."

But moving back to the corporations, dealing with China is not just a moral issue, but one of national security, said Waltz. 

"China has repeatedly said it will cut of supplies of pharmaceuticals, of rare earth minerals," he said. "Look at what they're doing to Australia right now, trying to crush them economically." 

The United States, he added, must "wake up" to the fact that the Chinese Communist Party is engaging in "cold war" tactics and concentrate its trade efforts elsewhere. 

"Sell into India, " he said. "There are 1.3 billion Indians right next door. It's the world's largest democracy that's not trying to stamp out the American dream as Xi (Jinping) is in China."

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Rep. Michael Waltz Thursday railed about companies that are now making a push against the imports of products made from slave labor in China's Xinjiang province...
waltz, china, imports, uyghurs, xinjiang
Thursday, 25 March 2021 03:51 PM
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