Chinese runners applaud marathon race’s termination of partnership with ASICS
Published: Apr 02, 2021 05:24 AM
An ASICS store in Shanghai Photo: VCG

An ASICS store in Shanghai Photo: VCG

Chinese runners applauded the suspension of a partnership between a domestic marathon race organizer and Japanese sportswear company ASICS, which has caused outrage among the Chinese public for its double-crossing move on the Xinjiang cotton issue.

Huipao, a sports event operating company that has organized annual marathon races in several cities across China, announced on Thursday that it would end its cooperation with ASICS.

“We will never tolerate behavior that hurts public feelings,” Huipao said in a statement it released online on Thursday evening. The company had contacted ASICS earlier but hadn’t received an official response, read the statement.

The partnership suspension will affect the Wuxi Marathon that is scheduled to take place on April 11 in Wuxi, East China’s Jiangsu Province. According to Huipao’s statement, Wuxi Marathon will not use any ASICS-branded items, meaning runners participating in the race will not receive ASICS sponsored products such as shoes, clothes or caps.

The event organizer promised to offer participants products from other brands as compensation, and to refund enrollment fees for those who decide to quit, according to the statement.

Participants in the Wuxi Marathon reached by the Global Times nonetheless said they are not any less enthusiastic about this upcoming event. “ASICS’ items are not at all important to me; I will still take part in the race,” said a runner nicknamed Bunny. 

Another runner surnamed Li also told the Global Times that he will participate in the Wuxi Marathon as planned.

Earlier this week, ASICS enraged Chinese people after its Chinese branch said that it would continue to buy cotton from Xinjiang and adhere to the one-China principle, but later an ASICS spokesperson reportedly denied that the stance was in line with “its official corporate position on this matter.”

Many runners supported Huipao’s decision to suspend its partnership with ASICS, saying they are unhappy with the company’s fickle attitude toward the Xinjiang cotton issue. “As a former ASICS customer, its behavior on such a major matter of principle has disappointed me,” Bunny told the Global Times on Thursday. 

“Every ordinary citizen should safeguard national dignity within his or her capacity,” he noted.