(Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said no forced labour was involved in the production of uniforms for the Beijing Winter Games following concerns from U.S. lawmakers.
The United States’ Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said earlier this month it was worried that suppliers Anta Sports and Hengyuanxiang Group (HYX Group) were using cotton from the Xinjiang region.
“Cotton produced in the XUAR (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) is synonymous with forced labour and the systematic repression that takes place there,” the letter said, echoing accusations of abuses against the Uyghur ethnic group.
Washington has alleged genocide, but China denies that and says it is the victim of a Western smear campaign.
The IOC said in a statement late on Wednesday that it had conducted third-party due diligence on its suppliers of the uniforms for staff, officials and volunteers at the Feb. 4-20 Games.
“This work, which started in September 2021 and is aligned with the IOC’s Supplier Code, did not find any forced, bonded, indentured or child labour,” it said
In the same statement, HYX Group said cotton in its products did not originate in China, while Anta Sports said it used recycled materials without any cotton.
The United States, Australia, Canada, Britain and Japan have announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games over China’s rights record. China says that betrays Olympic principles.
(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)