Vietnamese people accuse H&M of kowtowing to Beijing over 'problematic map'

·3-min read
Representative image
Representative image

Hanoi [Vietnam], April 4 (ANI): Social media users in Vietnam have accused Swedish fashion retailer H&M of kowtowing to Beijing after the company agreed to change the map online to show disputed territories in South China Sea as part of China.

This comes after Chinese regulators said H&M has agreed to change a "problematic map" online following government criticism.

On Friday, the Shanghai branch of the Cyberspace Administration of China said it had been alerted by members of the public to a "problematic map of China" on H&M's website.

It did not specify what was wrong with the illustration, but on Weibo - China's Twitter-like platform - a graphic from an earlier People's Daily report showing the so-called nine-dash line - the mark Beijing uses to claim about 90 per cent of the disputed waters of the South China Sea - was widely shared, South China Morning Post reported.

The Shanghai municipal bureau of planning and natural resources ordered the "error" to be remedied immediately and H&M complied, according to the cyberspace watchdog.

However, the retailer's apparent concession did not go down well in Vietnam, which holds rival claims to some of the territories contained within the nine-dash line.

"Paracel and Spratly Islands are belong to VietNam due to international law. H&M brand now is fighting against the law n all the Asian. We fight because we must fight," Vietnam-based Huong L. Tran said on Twitter on Saturday.

"Stupid HM, how dare you! HOANG SA TRUONG SA BELONG TO VIET NAM!!! Get out of our country HM!!" wrote another, using the local names for the Paracel and Spratly island chains in the South China Sea that are claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi.

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Beijing's rising assertiveness against counter claimants in the East and South Sea has resulted in unprecedented agreement across the Indo-Pacific.

Foreign companies in China including H&M and Nike are facing tremendous pressure following their statement on forced labour in Xinjiang. They are also been subjected to pressure amid China's rising tension with the west.

Recently, several companies including H&M said they were concerned about allegations that forced labour has been used to produce cotton in Xinjiang.

The ruling Communist Party lashed out at H&M, Nike and other shoe and clothing brands last week after the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed travel and financial sanctions on officials accused of abuses in Xinjiang in China's northwest.

Chinese media has called for Chinese boycotts of Swedish multinational retailer H&M, sports apparel powerhouses Nike and Adidas; New Balance; Burberry and other members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) that have voiced concerns or pledged not to use supply chain components produced in Xinjiang, South China Morning Post reported.

Swedish multinational H&M, the world's second-largest clothing retailer, has been pulled from major e-commerce stores in China and blocked by several major navigation, review and rating apps.

Dozens of Chinese celebrities have terminated contracts or said they would cut ties with these brands, including Nike, Adidas, Puma, Converse, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Uniqlo -- a move lauded by state media. (ANI)

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