No requirements: German companies and the protests in Hong Kong


Is silent, the German economy, while the Hong Kong people fight for democracy? Companies and associations reject the accusation. For its employees in Hong Kong, there is no requirements.

Demonstration at the Hong Kong harbour on 7. July 2019

For about two months, the people in Hong Kong demonstrating for their democratic rights. It is the most extensive protests since the demonstrations on Beijing’s Tiananmen square that were struck thirty years ago in a bloody campaign.

Representatives of the German economy do currently find it difficult to take the protests to the starting position. The Asia-Pacific Committee of German business rejects an Interview with reference to appointment reasons. And at the Federal Association of German industry (BDI) is the answer, even before the first question was asked: An Interview is currently unfortunately not possible, instead, refers to a prepared Statement.

“The German industry in Hong Kong is estimated for many decades as a site in the Tradition of the West,” said BDI President Dieter Kempf. “Freedom of expression, the rule of law and legal certainty in the framework of the special administrative region agreed ‘Basic Law’ to apply in our company as the unique Strengths of the location in Hong Kong.”

“Peaceful Solution”

From the point of view of the BDI, this is a clear commitment to democratic Rights, followed by an appeal against violence: “We trust that the Parties will do everything to facilitate a peaceful solution to the conflict and to preserve for Hong Kong the Status quo,” says Kempf more.

Demonstration in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on the 18. August 2019

This Position is too vague? Not clear enough? This is “the Silence of the German economy”, the Handelsblatt speaks?

That depends on what you expect. Traditionally, German companies, and government representatives rely on the principle of “change through trade” when it comes to economic relations with countries in which there is neither democracy nor human rights according to the Western model. At the core, that is to say often: You don’t want to snub the trading partner, the transactions proceed.

Protesters threatened with termination

Since the beginning of the protests, the Hong Kong police and, in part, paid thugs have taken violent action against the demonstrators. Be shown, conversely, the protesters in the Chinese media as a violent Mob. As the threat of China had also been military exercises on the border to Hong Kong to hold.

In the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center, on the other side of the Perflusses, left China in mid-August military unit arrival

Some companies are trying, allegedly to pressure from Beijing, your employees, and hold to participate in the protests. So, the Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific has been involved in the China, for this reason, employees are dismissed and further threatened with termination.

German companies do not do this according to their own information. “We gave our employees no specific recommendations regarding your personal participation in the protests in Hong Kong,” according to BASF Hong Kong to DW on request.

No guidelines for staff

The same is true for other German companies in Hong Kong, says Wolfgang low mark, managing Director of the German chamber of Commerce abroad (AHK) in Hong Kong. “We’re guests here”, so low-mark for the DW. “No company makes their employees targets, whether they demonstrate or not to demonstrate.”

To him, no case is known that a German company would have complained about it to China under pressure has been set, so mark more. The AHK Hong Kong has around 450 members, and the total estimated number of German companies in Hong Kong on a good 600.

Not all can have such a long history such as the history of the chemical company, BASF, the Headquarters for the East Asia Region in Hong Kong. The business relationships date back to the 1880s. At that time, Hong Kong was a British crown colony. In 1898, the Chinese government was then forced to lease the so-called New Territories, Hong Kong for 99 years to great Britain.

“We are monitoring the Events in Hong Kong closely,” a company spokeswoman for DW. “Our main concern is the safety of our employees and their families.” The way to work is not because of the protests possible, had all the employees the opportunity to work flexibly or from home.