Company Loyalties Lie With Money Over Human Rights

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Company Loyalties Lie With Money Over Human Rights

Kyran Mitchell, Opinion Editor

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In June 2019, the city of Hong Kong was set to pass an extradition law that would allow China to take suspected criminals from Hong Kong to be tried in the mainland. This bill was wildly unpopular, and many citizens of Hong Kong saw it as a direct violation of their sovereignty. Since the British gave the city back to China in 1997, there has been a system called “one China, two systems” that allows citizens of Hong Kong to have more autonomy from China. It is feared that if passed, the law would allow China to target critics of the state based in Hong Kong and China would be able to try them under their courts. Due to fears of their autonomy being violated, protests began immediately after the bill was proposed, and in the middle of June, an estimated 2 million people protested on the streets of Hong Kong to show their animosity towards the bill. In August, people who work in the cities began striking, protesting from the legislature building to Disneyland in Hong Kong. By September, protests became increasingly more violent, as police used rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters. Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, withdrew the bill in September, but by then it was too late. Due to perceived excessive use of force by the police and the people losing faith in the government, the bill being pulled back did nothing to stop the protesters. Since the protests began, China has been moving more forces of the People’s liberation army into Hong Kong to keep order in the city.

These protests against the Chinese government have spread into many areas of Western life. During the NBA preseason, Darrel Morey, the General Manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests. This caused a great deal of controversy, as the NBA had games being played in China at the time, and the NBA decided to stand behind China, as it is one of the largest revenue sources for the NBA outside of the United States. However, fans of Basketball in the west continued to bring signs supporting Hong Kong to NBA games, and most of these protesters in the US were thrown out of games they paid to attend. Also, the video game company Blizzard decided to ban a professional player from participating in video game tournaments because he decided to show support for Hong Kong. These actions by the NBA and Blizzard were viewed as caving to the whims of China due to the financial support that the country gives to western companies. Many US citizens continued protests against these corporations because they showed that their priorities put money over human rights.

The Chinese government believes they have the right to take action against Hong Kong, as the city is technically part of China, but the rampant human rights abuses of the Chinese government has shown exactly why there have been so many protests. It is also not the responsibility of corporations to care about human rights. Their only purpose is to make a profit. Many still do believe that these corporations should stand up to countries that abuse the rights of other people, and when they put money over human rights, it should be the responsibility of consumers to distance their money from these brands, as that is the best way to show support for the people fighting for their basic human rights.

 

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