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A group of religious and socially conscious investors and other funds are ramping up pressure on Western companies over alleged human rights abuses in China's Xinjiang region, highlighting the challenges for brands trying to maintain their business ties amid rising tensions.

The group of more than 50 investors, backed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, said it is in the process of contacting more than 40 companies, including H&M, VF Corp., Hugo Boss and Zara-owner Inditex, requesting more information about their supply chains and urging them to quit situations that could lead to human rights abuses.

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