Chinese television shows have recently begun blurring the logos of Western retail brands when they happen to appear on TV stars’ clothing items, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
Recent episodes of the popular Chinese variety show Sisters Who Make Waves “now feature singers and actors who look like they are floating on clouds, thanks to their blurred-out shoes,” according to the BBC. The Chinese reality show Chuang 2021 recently featured some of its stars blurred from their shoulders down to their ankles, as they had worn both Western-branded shirts and pants.
The reality TV contest program Youth With You provided post-production editors with an especially tedious task last month after at least 50 of the show’s contestants wore T-shirts bearing Western logos.
“The production company behind the show, iQiyi, had issued a notice on 25 March saying that an upcoming episode had to be delayed, but did not give a reason,” the BBC reported. “Two days later, however, viewers immediately spotted that brand logos had been blurred on the t-shirts of more than 50 people.”
The United States, Britain, the European Union, and Canada jointly imposed sanctions on Chinese government officials on March 22 over their alleged human rights abuses in the Chinese territory of Xinjiang, which include forcing ethnic Uyghurs – a Sunni Muslim Turkic group – and other regional minorities to harvest cotton under slave labor conditions. Xinjiang serves as a Chinese frontier region along the country’s border with Central Asia.
China responded to the March 22 joint sanctions by imposing retaliatory sanctions on British government officials and institutions on March 26. Several foreign retailers that use Xinjiang cotton reacted to news of the sanctions by denouncing the region’s alleged slave labor conditions. The public outcry against Xinjiang cotton elicited additional responses by China’s ruling Communist Party on March 26, when party officials launched a targeted attack of foreign brands critical of Uyghur slave labor.
The Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M, which announced it would stop buying Xinjiang cotton in 2020, was among the first Western brands targeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the aftermath of the March 22 sanctions. CCP officials practically erased H&M from China’s already heavily censored internet starting March 26.
In the nearly two weeks since then, additional Western clothing retailers have had their online shops blocked by CCP internet censors.
“Some of the brands embroiled in the controversy include Nike, Adidas, and Puma – all members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a non-profit group promoting sustainable cotton production,” the BBC reported on April 7. “The group said in October it had suspended activities in Xinjiang as well as licensing of the region’s cotton, citing allegations and ‘increasing risks’ of forced labor.”