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Why Kodak apologized to China over an Instagram post

Ozan Kose / Getty

China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is becoming an increasingly tense topic for both world leaders and international companies. Over 1 million Uighur Muslims Reportedly detained in a “re-education” labor camp Within the territory. China is becoming more sensitive to human rights abuses and genocide charges, As declared by the US State Department in January, And often respond positively to such accusations.

Kodak It has become the latest company to navigate the expected bog set by the West and China.The company has briefly released a series of photos from Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region InstagramBefore immediately deleting the photo and offering an apology after a backlash from some Chinese users. The problem was a caption written by Patrick Wack, the photographer behind the series, who called the area “Orwell’s Nightmare.”

Wack visited the area many times between 2015 and 2019, and his photo appears in the next book, Dust. Kodak, who owns the camera Wack uses for work, publishes a selection of his photos on his Instagram account and links to Wack’s account. Users can read the following captions that describe Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

“In recent years, the region has become the center of international protest after the mass imprisonment of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities,” the caption said. “This series of works captures the visual story of the region and is a testament to Orwell’s sudden descent into dystopia.”

The· Nationalist section of China’s populationAlthough enthusiastic about national rhetoric and local media, Western criticisms of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region appear to have been invented or exaggerated to curb the rise of China. International companies are increasingly choosing between Western customers and a growing and profitable customer base in China.Companies like Nike Western pressure has been pressured to clean up the cotton supply chain from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which has been criticized in China for doing so. H & M I saw a decrease in sales in China After a Swedish company opposed the use of cotton in the area.

Wack’s post became a hot topic on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform similar to Twitter. “Don’t buy Kodak. Kodak supports the work of a photographer who deliberately defiles the oppression of ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by China.” The reaction from Chinese authorities is unknown, but China’s state publication The thing posted a story criticizing Kodak. “It is not uncommon for the West to hype the issue of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region under the instigation of US-led anti-Chinese troops.” Read the story in Global Times.. Kodak pulled out a photo a few days later and issued a statement apologizing for “misunderstandings and violations that the post may have caused.”

Kodak was more obedient in another statement released on China’s social media platform WeChat. “Kodak has long maintained good relations with the Chinese government and worked closely with various government departments … we check ourselves and fix ourselves. Note this. Takes as an example of the need for “reads the statement translated by Hong Kong Free Press..

William Nee, research and advocacy coordinator for the China Human Rights Advocates Network, said:

“Companies have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their operations, and for companies like Kodak, this includes respecting the right of freedom of expression for those who use the film.”

Population abuse in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has been increasingly publicized in the last few years. In hopes of suppressing separatist sentiment, Chinese authorities have detained more than one million Uighurs in a “re-education camp.”Status Accused of using IUD, contraception, and sterilization to reduce fertility.. US State Department in January Declared China’s treatment of Uighur “mass slaughter.”

“Chinese government We need to understand that we are playing with a double-edged sword by putting pressure on businesses in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, “Nee said. But on the other hand, these cases have received widespread attention from policy makers and Western consumers about the risks of being tied to the Chinese market. “

Kodak was contacted for additional comment, but did not respond immediately.

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