Hong Kong has been embroiled in protests against the rule of China for months, and now businesses are getting caught in the middle. According to The New York Times, more and more businesses are aligning with Beijing.
On Friday, Rupert Hogg, the chief executive of Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways, resigned. Hogg was under extreme pressure from Beijing after the airline’s employees engaged in the protests.
PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, and EY have distanced themselves from the protests following an ad supporting the protests signed and paid for by employees from the firms. The ad was run in Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper.
The ad read: “We will never fear or compromise with injustice and unfairness.”
PwC put out a statement that said the ad “does not represent the firm’s position.” The statement continued, “We firmly oppose any action and statement that challenge national sovereignty.
A Chinese Communist Party-controlled tabloid, the Global Times, has encouraged the involved firms to “fire employees found to have the wrong stance on the Hong Kong situation.”
Unfortunately for Hong Kong, China has enormous economic power over the island. Hong Kong’s demonstrations, therefore, could lead to devastating economic retaliation. half of Hong Kong’s trade comes from China and China gives Hong Kong about 25% of all foreign investments. China also supplies the nation with over 25% of its electricity, the majority of its drinking water, and over 75% of its tourists.
Although Hong Kong is not as important to China, Beijing still needs Hong Kong as it is an important financial hub.
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