Lewis Morris / July 1, 2021

American Corporations Enable China’s Crackdown

Big companies like Nike and the NBA just want to make a buck, so they bow to the ChiComs.

In today’s society, people seem to care more about a company’s stance on political issues than the product it makes. Companies must openly project support for the environment, for homosexual rights, for the loosest voting rules possible, for “antiracism,” for ending poverty, and so forth. They trip over themselves to be woke, with Nike, Apple, Google, and the NBA leading by example.

For all their talk about human rights and free speech, though, many of these companies have been curiously silent about communist China’s recent crackdown on free speech. In the last two weeks, the Chinese government has shut down Apple Daily, one of Hong Kong’s most popular newspapers, and jailed at least seven of its editors and journalists.

Apple Daily has long been a thorn in the side of the Chinese government, pushing back against its rollback of democratic laws in Hong Kong. The paper supported the 2019 democracy protests, going so far as to print signs for the effort. This, along with editorials and reportage critical of the Chinese government, put the paper in the crosshairs of the bosses in Beijing.

All the aforementioned American companies, and many others, have made no comment about the arrests or the blatant attack on free speech and free thought. Many of these organizations had plenty to say about the faux attacks on free speech at the hands of the Trump administration, putting out press releases and sharing their politically correct views just like the Left ordered them too. But when real attacks on free speech take place in China, it’s all crickets and tumbleweeds.

Well, maybe it’s not that quiet. Nike CEO John Donahoe told shareholders recently, “We are the largest sport brand there, and we are a brand of China and for China.” And that is at the heart of what these companies are all about.

China is the world’s biggest consumer market, and America’s consumer companies want in. But the communists exact a high price for access, a price that many companies willingly pay without any sense of decorum, social responsibility, and surely not one wit of irony.

These global brands, which again routinely bloviate to and belittle their own American consumers and fans for not being sufficiently woke, also look the other way when China uses Uyghurs as slave labor. Nike has been embroiled in a controversy surrounding allegations that it profits from this Chinese labor, and other companies are actually lobbying Congress to soften its stance on slave labor in the hopes that they can profit, too.

Perhaps these companies were secretly glad that Apple Daily was closed. One less voice to stir the pot and draw attention to their unremittent drive for profits. Either way, they have proved that useful idiots never go out of style, especially if they are massive global brands.

These companies act like politically correct saints in America because that is what makes them money over here, or so they believe. They act however the Chinese Communist Party wants them to act in China because that’s what makes them money over there. Remember that the next time LeBron James or some Proctor & Gamble spokesperson tells you to strive to be the type of person the Left would love.

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