Last year, H&M stopped buying cotton from the Chinese region of Xinjiang after reports of forced labor.

Current debate

Week 15: NATO debate after Russian escalation and China boycott H&M

During the past week, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine has attracted attention after upwards of 85 Russian soldiers were transferred to the border with Ukraine. The course of events has contributed to a debate about both Ukraine's and Sweden's possible membership in the NATO defense alliance. China's boycott has also sparked debate about Sweden's trade with China.

Up to 85 Russian soldiers have been moved to the borders, Ukrainian sources say, and this has increased tensions between Russia and Ukraine. As long as Kiev does not have control over its own territory, they will be denied NATO membership. Aftonbladet's editorial staff believes that Russia should be stopped by completing the ongoing expansion of the gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Expressen's editorial staff also agrees and encourages the EU to act together. 

- Sweden should kindly but firmly explain to Germany that the gas pipeline would damage relations even between good friends. 

Daisy Balkin Rung writes in Sydsvenskan that the Russian mobilization in Ukraine can also affect Sweden:

- Should the lead fi strike against Sweden and the disaster is a fact then it does not help how many agreements have been signed. For Sweden stands outside. 

Foreign Minister Ann Linde (S) stated that membership in NATO could provoke Russia and lead to "strong countermeasures", but Claes Arvidsson writes in SvD that security policy should be independent:

- It is not a lack of knowledge that explains the Social Democrats' constant no to a formal connection to NATO, but overwintered ideology from the time of naturalism. 

The Social Democratic foreign and defense ministers also write in DN Debatt that Swedish security policy has become more realistic over the past 20 years.  

- Thus, in practice, we have abandoned non-alignment and come a long way in joining a security system that will hopefully deter Russia from resorting to military force to achieve political goals. A security system that is basically based on NATO. 

China boycotts H&M

Last year, H&M published a report on forced labor and ethnic persecution in the Chinese region of Xinjiang and stopped buying cotton from the area. Eight months later, the Communist Party's youth union responds by boycotting H&M. Swedish companies are in a greater position of dependence on China than they actually think, writes Henrik Sundblom in SvD:

- The power to deal with today's authoritarian states needs to be strengthened…

Mattias Svensson objects and writes in SvD that "stopping trade with China will not make its rule less murderous or oppressive, both historical and contemporary experiences actually speak to the opposite". However, he believes that the trade in dictatorships should be given attention and that the state and economy should be separated because Swedish companies take their own risks.

China's economic power threatens freedom of expression in the West, according to Patrik Kronqvist, who writes in Expressen "that it is good for democracy if there are book publishers, film studios, newspapers and TV stations that have no business interests in China to take into account" because the US stopped producing big movies about abuses going on in China. Sweden should also take into account that the Chinese dictatorship uses different methods to achieve foreign policy goals. The fact that Chinese suppliers have been excluded from the Swedish 5G network for "security reasons" is a good sign that other EU countries should follow. 


A selection of the last week's editorial and debate articles on global development and Sweden's role in the world: 

Russia's escalation in Ukraine

Only the government sees the success
Claes Arvidsson

Russian escalation at Ukraine border worries
Annika Nordgren Chistensen, Patrick Oksanen, Johan Wiktorin, Amanda Wollstad and Anders Lindberg

Ukraine needs our help when Putin's arms crash
Unsigned editorial text

DN Debate Replicas. “Uncertainty about Sweden's behavior in the event of a crisis in northern Europe
Bo Hugemark and Henrik Salander

"Russia wants, at least, to cut off supply lines between the United States and Europe and strengthen its presence in the Arctic."
Daisy Balking Rung

China boycotts H&M

Free trade friends must not turn a blind eye to the threat in China
Patrik Kronqvist

Trade with China requires both morale and backbone
Henrik Sundblom

China's problem is not trade
Matthias Svensson

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