Video showing Nike shoes on fire predates Chinese attacks on the brand

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video has been viewed thousands of times on Weibo, Twitter and Douyin, alongside a claim that it shows a social media user burning Nike shoes in response to the brand’s critical stance on Xinjiang cotton. But the video was shared in a misleading context: it circulated online at least a week before anger against Western fashion giants, including Nike, erupted in China; the social media user who posted the video told AFP the post had “nothing to do with (anger at) Nike”.

The video has been viewed more than 3,000 times after it was released share on April 4, 2021 on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo.

The Chinese caption of the video translates to: “Nike’s inappropriate statement on Xinjiang cotton sparked public resistance. A surfer burned all the Nike shoes… What do you think?

Text overlaid on the video makes a similar claim and adds, “It’s necessary to make a personal statement, but it’s not necessary to burn shoes.”

A screenshot of the misleading message, taken on April 9, 2021

The video circulated online as anger against Nike grew in China, starting March 25, 2021.

That day, Chinese celebrities, tech brands and state media – aided by tightly controlled social media outrage – piled on Nike and other Western fashion labels as the country mobilized its market of consumption against criticism of its actions in Xinjiang, AFP reported.

Rights groups say at least a million Uyghurs and people from other predominantly Muslim groups have been held in camps in Xinjiang, where authorities are also accused of forcibly sterilizing women and using to forced labor.

China denies any abuse, insisting the labor camps are training programs and work programs that have helped root out extremism and boost incomes.

Xinjiang is one of the world’s leading cotton-growing regions and supplies textiles to many clothing brands. While Nike declaration The brand’s move away from Xinjiang cotton was made last year, as online outcry against the firm swelled the week of March 25, 2021, the AFP report added.

The video was also shared with a similar claim here and here on Twitter; here on Weibo; and here on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

Screenshots from the video were also shared here on Twitter; and in the reports here and here.

However, the video was shared in a misleading context.

A keyword search found that an identical video was uploaded to Douyin on March 16, 2021at least a week before widespread anger against Nike surfaced in China.

A screenshot of the Douyin video with the date circled

Comments on Douyin’s video indicate that people thought the shoes were burned in anger at Nike, but the uploader clarified in a comment: “Please can you take a look at the date at which was it published? Don’t follow the trend blindly.

The uploader who posted the original video, username xxxtentacionxxx, told AFP the footage was shared in a misleading context.

In a private message on Douyin on April 13, 2021, xxxtentacionxxx said, “This is my own video, and it has nothing to do with (anger at) Nike. As for why I burned the shoes, I just want to burn them.

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