WASHINGTON – A US congressional commission on Tuesday called on American basketball stars to end support for Chinese sportswear firms using cotton grown in China’s Xinjiang region, which they say would have warned against engaging in forced labor. is.
In a letter to the National Basketball Players Association, the chairmen of the bipartisan Congress-Executive Commission on China said that more than a dozen NBA players had made deals with China-based ANTA, Li-Ning and Peak sportswear firms prior to the recent publication. Were. Western media articles stated that the companies had supported the continued use of Xinjiang cotton.
“Players continue to sign new deals with Anta Sports,” said the letter from Senator Jeff Merkle and Representative Jim McGovern.
“We believe that commercial relationships with companies that source cotton in Xinjiang pose a reputational risk to NBA players and the NBA itself,” he said, noting that the US government had determined that China had committed the genocide in Xinjiang and was committing a crime against humanity and banned the import of cotton. Area.
“The NBA and NBA players should not even support such horrific human rights abuses,” the letter said.
It said reporting since 2018 showed authorities in Xinjiang had forced minority Muslims to engage in forced labor and that there was credible evidence of forced labor being present in Xinjiang cotton production.
The letter, a text of which was provided to Reuters, said that Anta, Li-Ning and Peik publicly embraced Xinjiang cotton, “possibly complicating them in the use of forced labor.”
The NBPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China’s Washington embassy called the allegations of forced labor “an outrageous lie”.
“Attempts by some forces in the US and elsewhere to mess up Xinjiang and control China will never succeed. The rock they are lifting will eventually hit their own toes,” it said in an email in response to questions.
The NBA’s position in China, its most important overseas market, deteriorated sharply after the end of 2019, when then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and Beijing’s state television broadcast NBA games. Removed from my channels.
The NBA last July reevaluated its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players and harassment of foreign employees by local staff in Xinjiang.
The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, said later in September that the NBA’s long-standing involvement in China continued to have a “net positive” effect on mutual understanding between the United States and the communist nation.
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