China has accused a number of major Western clothing companies of selling products that may be harmful to children.
The Chinese Customs Administration published a warning on its website that included a list of 81 products imported by companies including Nike, H&M and Zara.
And last March, the Chinese authorities targeted foreign retailers in the clothing sector, in light of increasing international allegations of violations taking place in the cotton-producing region of Xinjiang, which is inhabited by the Muslim Uighur minority.
Earlier this year, several Western countries imposed sanctions on China.
The list of products that the China General Administration of Customs warned about included: clothes, shoes, toys, toothbrushes, and baby feeding bottles.
The customs administration monitored these products during checks that took place from June 2020 to May 2021, she says.
Customs says that nine versions of girls’ H&M-branded cotton clothing contain “dyes or harmful substances that may be absorbed by the body through the skin, mouth, or otherwise, which may be harmful to health”.
The same was raised about children’s clothing imported from Zara and Nike, as well as nine versions of cotton pajamas bearing the brand Gap.
None of H&M, Zara or Gap responded to requests from the BBC for comment on the Chinese decision.
The warning is the latest blow to Western clothing companies based in China, which are facing international accusations of abuse in the cotton-producing region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur minority.
Several large companies have expressed concern about allegations that the Uighur minority is being forced into forced labor.
Online selling websites of a number of companies have faced bans, as well as the removal of their corporate headquarters on digital maps.
China initially targeted H&M and Nike, before the campaign expanded to include Burberry, Adidas, Converse, and others.
Although H&M continues to operate from its branches in China, the headquarters of those branches can no longer be reached through the use of electronic applications, and consumers can no longer purchase the company’s products online.
In return, the Chinese authorities encourage the purchase of local products.
And last March, several Western companies imposed sanctions on officials in China, over violations of the rights of the Muslim Uighur minority.
The Chinese authorities have detained Uyghur Muslims in camps in northwest Xinjiang, where allegations of torture, forced labor, and sexual abuse have emerged.
The sanctions were coordinated by the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.
For its part, Beijing has denied accusations of violating the rights of Uighurs, stating that the camps are only “rehabilitation” facilities for the fight against terrorism.
On the sanctions front, China responded by imposing sanctions on Western lawmakers, researchers, and institutions.