PWC state­ment on Hong Kong strike draws ire

Global Times US Edition - - TOPNEWS - By Li Xuan­min and Shen Wei­duo

Chi­nese in­ter­net users are an­gry at the vague state­ment from one of the “big four” global ac­count­ing firms, PWC, con­demn­ing its fence-sit­ting ap­proach in deal­ing with the Hong Kong riot. The an­gry re­ac­tion came as the com­pany is­sued a state­ment in re­sponse to a Pwc-ti­tled post that urged peo­ple to join the strike or­ga­nized by Hong Kong pro­test­ers on Mon­day.

“We fully re­spect peo­ple’s right to free­dom of speech… our top pri­or­ity at all times is the safety of our peo­ple,” PWC said in a state­ment sent to the Global Times on Mon­day. The com­pany noted that it very much re­grets the re­cent es­ca­la­tion of vi­o­lence in Hong Kong and the dis­rup­tion that is af­fect­ing nor­mal peace and or­der.

The re­sponse came after a post, which used the of­fi­cial com­pany brand­ing, for­mat, color and font of PWC, has been cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia in re­cent days.

The post urged em­ploy­ees to join the city-wide strike on Mon­day and said that the vi­o­lent protest is “gath­er­ing sup­port from dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing the Big 4 and other ac­count­ing firms.” The posts were spread out and hung in Pwc’s Hong Kong of­fice, ac­cord­ing to pho­tos from so­cial me­dia.

PWC said it con­demns the use of so­cial me­dia to spread false mes­sages us­ing the firm’s cor­po­rate iden­tity, in­clud­ing the imi­ta­tion of vis­ual de­sign and color that are de­signed to mis­lead the pub­lic.

How­ever, the re­sponse, which did not draw a clear line be­tween the com­pany’s of­fi­cial stance from the vi­o­lent pro­test­ers, has sparked wide­spread dis­sat­is­fac­tion among the pub­lic. Pwc’s state­ment has been de­scribed as un­clear as to whether the firm sup­ports se­ces­sion­ism or not.

Some also sug­gest that Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties re­voke the firms’ business li­cense in China and put it to the soon-to-be re­leased un­re­li­able en­tity list.

“Does the state­ment mean that PWC will shield its em­ploy­ees who or­ga­nize and par­tic­i­pate in the vi­o­lent protests? It wants to make money from China, but it is in­cit­ing un­rest at the same time. This is ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able,” an em­ployee of a Hong Kong-based fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion sur­named Hai told the Global Times, urg­ing the firm to re­spect China’s rules and sovereignt­y.

“Do you want to be the next Po­cari Sweat? We don’t mind to see ‘big four’ changed to ‘big three,’” one ne­ti­zen named Hyun­yang said at a post that for­warded Pwc’s Weibo state­ment. The com­pany has closed its com­ments sec­tion as of press time.

An­a­lysts warned that Pwc’s am­bigu­ous stance might also put its main­land busi­nesses at risk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.