Beijing's global cancel culture

Fast-fashion retailer H&M and Nike came in for a Chinese social-media bruising this week. H&M saw its products removed from several major e-commerce retailers and a celebrity endorser abandoned the brand, while other celebrities cut ties with Nike as netizens rained scorn on the brands on sites such as Weibo. This followed angry social-media posts from the Communist Youth League aimed at the companies…

Those statements are becoming grist for the Communist Party’s outrage mill now because the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and European Union on Monday imposed sanctions on several Chinese officials in response to Mr. Xi’s Uighur imprisonment. Beijing has imposed sanctions on several European officials in response. Mobilizing an electronic mob against big Western brands is another show of force.

The threat is serious for any Western company that finds itself in the crosshairs. The National Basketball Association was banned for a year after a team executive tweeted in 2019 in support of Hong Kongers protesting for democracy. Australian companies are grappling with tariffs and boycotts imposed on products such as wine and barley after Canberra last year called for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19.