“Stupidity and myopia”: China threatens Walmart

The Chinese Anti-Corruption Authority criticized the US Walmart chain on Friday and warned it against a consumer boycott after reports that the company had stopped holding Xinjiang products at Walmart’s stores in China and Sam’s Club stores.

Walmart had no “justifiable reason” to remove products from an entire area, a statement issued by the Communist Party’s Central Disciplinary Board said on Friday. The agency added that the move stemmed from external motives and demonstrated “stupidity and short-sightedness”. The American network will suffer the consequences of its actions, the council said in a statement.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, declined to comment.

The company, which is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, provoked reactions on social media earlier this month because surfers wrote on the network that they were unable to find products on Walmart and Sam’s Club China’s websites that mostly originated in Xinjiang. Sam’s Club is a wholesale chain that sells to paid subscribers.

Xinjiang, a province in northwest China that is home to millions of Muslim minorities, has caused geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China, and the U.S. accuses the Chinese authorities of carrying out genocide and forced labor there. China has denied the two allegations, adding that its policies were made in the name of national security and to fight terrorism.

When reports of the removal of the products that Walmart is accused of circulating online last week, some users uploaded screenshots of conversations with customer service representatives, who told them that Xinjiang products were out of stock. Others have written that they are canceling their Sam’s Club subscriptions. The party-controlled media added fire to the fire.

Tests conducted by the Wall Street Journal at Walmart and Sam’s Online stores on Dec. 24 and Friday found no Xinjiang products, but red Xinjiang dates were found at a Walmart physical store in Beijing last weekend.

Prior to Walmart’s clash with Chinese authorities, US chip giant Intel issued an apology to the Chinese public for a public letter it wrote to its suppliers asking them to refrain from bringing goods from Xinjiang. On December 23, US President Joe Biden signed the Uighur Forced Employment Prevention Act. The law bans all imports to the U.S. from this county unless companies can ensure that their products are completely free from forced labor along their production chain.

In March, H&M revealed that its presence had been deleted from the Chinese Internet, including e-commerce sites, travel sharing, sites tracking daily sales promotions and maps, after the Swedish clothing brand decided to stop bringing cotton from Chinese Xinjiang province.

“China is Walmart’s Second Largest Foreign Market”

On Friday, the Communist Party Council announced that actions such as those of H&M, Intel and Sam’s Club constituted “use of their actions to strike themselves in the face.” The agency said the explanation given by a Sam’s customer service representative was “an excuse and a self-lie”. The council wrote that Walmart earns about a billion yuan ($ 157 million) from more than 4 million subscribers it has in China, and warned the company to know where the border crosses for it.

“China is Walmart’s second largest market, if they want to stand firm in the Chinese market, they need to demonstrate enough sincerity and a positive attitude, respect for facts and the difference between truth and falsehood, respect Chinese principles and the feelings of Chinese citizens,” the council said. “If not, Chinese citizens and consumers will use their decision-making power to react decisively.”

China has 434 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, covering an area of ​​more than 6.4 million square meters, as of the end of January 2021, making China the second largest international market for Walmart in terms of store space, according to the company’s latest annual report. Mexico, where Walmart operates more than 2,600 stores, is Walmart’s largest foreign market.

By Editor

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