Why Are The “Big Four” Opposed To Hong Kong Democracy Demonstrations?

21 July 2014 | Mint Press News

WASHINGTON — Rights and watchdog groups are questioning both the logical and legal basis for a series of advertisements, published by the world’s four largest accountancy firms, expressing opposition to the recent pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in Hong Kong.

The firms include one, Deloitte, headquartered in the United States, as well as three European companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young (now known as EY) and KPMG. Of course, these are fully global entities, with collective revenues above $100 billion a year and together known simply as “the Big Four.”

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Why America Must Stand Up for Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement

Mike Gonzalez | 17 July 2014 | The Heritage Foundation

Loath to become the world’s policeman, the Obama administration has turned instead into its fireman. Hither and thither, the administration runs to different corners of the world trying to put out fires—today Central America, tomorrow Jerusalem, next week Syria. Such an approach may rack up air miles for the Secretary of State, but clearly, it’s no substitute for a preventive blueprint that safeguards our national interest.

As it happens, one part of the world experiencing a mini–flare up—Hong Kong—affords us an opportunity to pursue a long-term strategy pertaining to a much larger actor: China. Our foreign-policy challenges would ease considerably if China became a normal, status-quo country with elections, free markets and checks and balances that its leaders could use to manage internal tensions.

Allowing the 7.1 million people of Hong Kong to practice real democracy would let the authorities in Beijing see up close that there’s nothing to fear from a sovereign people. Over time, familiarity with democratic practices in this one Chinese city would help China’s leaders acquire for themselves the frame of mind needed to begin to introduce universal suffrage on the mainland itself.

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Big Four criticised by Amnesty International

2 July 2014 | Economia

The Big Four have faced criticism from human rights charity Amnesty International over an ad campaign criticising protests in Hong Kong

The firms published adverts in three Chinese-language newspapers, saying they were opposed to planned protests that might destabilise business in the Hong Kong financial district.

The adverts said protests would “inevitably” affect financial institutions and could result in multinational corporations moving headquarters from Hong Kong.

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The Waning Beijing Consensus

Joseph Sternberg | 25 June 2014 | Wall Street Journal

In Hong Kong, political leaders are telling businesses to worry about local citizens’ demands for greater democracy. In Thailand, in contrast, there are signs that businesses are starting to wish they had democracy back after a military coup unseated an elected government last month. Meanwhile, businesses in Japan and India have some reason to cheer cautiously as voters have brought to office politicians of more or less reformist stripes.

These are interesting days for those who remember the time not so long ago when there was a “Beijing consensus” that authoritarian political leadership produced better economic results. In that era, the unelected kleptocrats in China delivered consistently high growth figures while the softer technocrats of Hong Kong maintained stability and positive nonintervention. Democracies produced either populism (Thailand) or paralysis (India and Japan).

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Big Banks Kowtow to Beijing

L. Gordon Crovitz | 22 June 2014 | Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong has ranked No. 1 every year over the two decades the Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal have issued their Index of Economic Freedom. But now the city’s political overlords in Beijing are doing all they can to end that winning streak—with the collaboration of Hong Kong’s top banks.

Once dismissed as a barren rock, Hong Kong became a prosperous financial center thanks to its free flow of information, English legal system and millions of hardworking immigrants from mainland China. When Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, Hong Kong’s people were promised 50 years of “one country, two systems” and elections. China now worries that the island’s freedom will spread to the mainland.

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Universal suffrage would ensure stronger mandate for chief executive, says business chamber

Tony Cheung, Gary Cheung | 6 May 2014 | SCMP

“We believe that with universal suffrage, at least our chief executive would be popularly elected, be recognised by the public and be more representative,” Adeline Wong Ching-man, CEO of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association, told the South China Morning Post.

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