Nike has provided a particularly shameful example of what it means to be a modern-day woke corporation.
While being relentlessly woke on social and political issues in America, the company has routinely ignored human rights abuses in China that are many orders of magnitude worse than anything that can even be contemplated in America today.
Of course, the company has been under some pressure to change its stance on the actions of the Chinese government. And recently, the famous shoe manufacturer has made a few timid murmurs in objection to the behavior of communist China.
What’s amazing is that the Chinese government’s reaction to this has been rather swift and brutal.
Nike Complains and China Smacks It Down
Recently, Nike has issued a statement saying that it would not use cotton from China’s Xinjiang region. There has long been rumored to be a massive network of forced labor and concentration camps in this region.
Specifically, some of Nike’s statement read as follows: “We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Nike does not source products from the XUAR and we have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.”
In response, the Chinese government and Chinese citizens have decided to boycott the company from the Chinese social media platform Weibo, thus limiting Nike’s ability to reach Chinese customers.
Shortly after Nike issued its statement, people in China began posting videos of themselves burning Nike Air Jordans. Weibo was also full of expletive-laced comments about Nike. It is not clear to what extent such comments and actions in China are organic and to what extent they are astroturfed by the government.
A Deeper Consistency?
Some might see the double standard in how Nike has behaved with respect to China and the United States as a form of rank hypocrisy, but it may be that there is actually a deeper form of consistency at work here.
Whether you are talking about the United States or China, Nike is bowing to the wishes of the elite in both countries. In order to carry out business, it is bowing to what the elite want in both places. It just so happens that while in China, the leadership consists of pragmatic and ruthless people who want to grow the power of the state by any means necessary—even if it means committing genocide against innocent Uyghur Muslims—in the United States, the elite are completely in the thrall of the woke ideology that seeks to blame white people for everything.
Thus, what seems like hypocrisy may really just be Nike doing what it needs to do in order to carry on with business.