Chinese celebrities are finding it increasingly difficult to stay out of politics.
Due to China’s tight restrictions on free speech, most of the country’s stars have been outwardly apolitical by default. But as China embraces a new wave of apparent nationalism — promoted by the ruling Communist Party and amplified by state media — it seems staying silent is no longer a viable option.
Over the past two days, Chinese actors, singers and models have spoken up en masse to defend Beijing’s policy on Xinjiang, as a nationalist-fueled backlash erupted against some international clothing brands for expressing concerns over allegations of forced labor, and refusing to use cotton produced in the western region.
Human rights groups have accused Beijing of detaining Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in internment camps across Xinjiang, and using them for forced labor, which they claim is part of global tech and retail supply chains, either directly or indirectly.
Recent sanctions from…