ASICS head office clarifies that earlier post on sourcing Xinjiang cotton was unauthorised
"Australian Olympic uniform supplier ASICS caught in human rights cotton controversy", 28 March 2021
Australia's Olympic team uniform provider ASICS is the latest sportswear company caught in a propaganda war involving human rights abuses in China — specifically the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.
A social media post in China from ASICS, a Japanese owned and run company, says it guarantees it will continue to buy cotton from Xinjiang, in contrast to companies like Nike and H&M that are facing a backlash in China after saying they will not use cotton from the region.
ASICS head office in Kobe, Japan called an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue, with a spokesperson later saying:
"We are currently clarifying that the statement in question was unauthorised as is not our official corporate position on this matter.
"And we can confirm that the Australian Olympic Team uniform does not contain cotton sourced from Xinjiang and was not manufactured in this region.”
Sources say it is likely the social media post was written by ASICS' China office and its local staff, without approval from Kobe, to avoid the campaign targeting companies that have called out human rights abuses which the Chinese government continues to deny.
Adding support to the allegation that local staff are responsible for the "unauthorised" ASICS post is that the wording used is almost identical to that used in a Hugo Boss post, which the company's head office in Germany has distanced itself from.
According to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, the Hugo Boss social media post reportedly said:
"For many years, we have respected the one-China principle, resolutely defending national sovereign and territorial integrity. We have established long-term collaborations with many outstanding Chinese enterprises, and will continue to keep [the partnerships]."