Home / Companies / News /  Nike reviewing China supply chain after report on Uighur abuse

Nike Inc. said it’s reviewing its supply chain in China to assess potential risks involving workers from the country’s Uighur Muslim minority after allegations of forced labor.

A Washington Post story last month described the plight of ethnic Uighurs from China’s western Xinjiang region, who were detained and sent to factories that produce athletic gear. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute also estimated that more than 80,000 Uighurs were sent to work in the supply chains of a range of well-known global brands including Nike “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labor."

The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized China for what the United Nations says is the detention of as many as 1 million mostly Uighur Muslims. Nike has also become a target, with Vice President Mike Pence last year citing the company as an example of an American multinational “that willfully ignores the abuse of human rights" in China.

China’s foreign ministry earlier this month called the reports about forced labor “simply baseless" and designed to “smear China’s counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang." Late last year the government said it completed what it called de-radicalization training and that the “students" had all “graduated."

In a statement on its website, Nike said that while it does not “directly source products from the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region," the company was looking into how suppliers rely on Uighurs elsewhere.

“We have been conducting ongoing diligence with our suppliers in China to identify and assess potential risks related to employment of people from XUAR," the company said. “Nike is committed to upholding international labor standards and we are continuing to evaluate how to best monitor our compliance standards in light of the complexity of this situation."

The Beaverton, Oregon-based company said it’s working with trade groups such as the Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Apparel & Footwear Association and National Retail Federation, and stands behind a statement they released on Tuesday.

“As an industry representing brands and retailers, we do not tolerate forced labor in our supply chains," the groups said in the letter.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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