Companies are forced to choose sides in Hong Kong protests

Central Chinese government pressures companies to get employees to toe the line.
By: | August 27, 2019

As the protests continue in Hong Kong, the spotlight is now on employers who have been forced to choose between the sentiments of their employees and the central government in China. The current situation in Hong Kong is tense after a weekend of fierce confrontation between protesters and police.

Global Times, a Chinese tabloid run by the People’s Daily, reported that the Chinese People’s Armed Police have assembled in Shenzhen and Beijing while giving strong indications that the Chinese central government would intervene if the situation worsened.

Global companies such as HSBC, with a huge presence in the Asian city, and Standard Chartered recently put out advertisements supporting the Hong Kong government. While PwC warned its staff not to misrepresent the company with their personal actions. Their pro-government stance is echoed by Hong Kong tycoons and conglomerates.

Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong, has urged global companies to support the government. These companies are caught trying to appease mainland China while not ignoring the views of their workers and the general Hong Kong population. As the central government puts pressure on companies, this is expected to add to the tensions.

Hong Kong’s stock market has lost nearly US$300 billion in market value since the end of June. The cumulative damage could push the city’s economy into a recession.