In Hong Kong, the government of mainland China frequently pressures businesses operating in Hong Kong to make statements supportive of the regime’s political positioning towards the region. Generally, businesses comply.
Employees at the “Big 4” accounting firms - Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC - decided to demonstrate that these statements were not aligned with their views. In 2014, the Big 4 put out a newspaper advertisement attacking the Occupy Central protests which challenged China’s policies towards the region. Employees responded with their own ad saying “hey boss, your statement doesn’t represent us”.
In 2019, when the firms again made statements criticising pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, employees again responded with an ad contradicting them and setting out 5 demands for government action. Both instances drew attention to how global businesses were pressured to be complicit in violating democratic norms, and how employee activism could challenge the dominant narrative.