Big Four Firms Distance Themselves from Ad Supporting Hong Kong Protesters

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Aug 19, 2019
Shortly after a group claiming to be Big Four employees in Hong Kong released a newspaper ad expressing solidarity with the protesters there, the firms themselves distanced themselves from the statement and emphasized that it does not reflect their own views, according to CNN

The protests, which have been ongoing for the past 11 weeks, initially were focused on a Chinese bill that would allow the mainland to extradite residents of Hong Kong, which is considered an autonomous zone. Since then, they have expanded into calls for greater transparency and accountability, centered around five demands: the complete withdrawal of the bill; the withdrawal of the "riot" designation of its June 12 actions; the unconditional release of all arrested protesters; the formation of an independent commission to investigate police behavior during the protests; and universal suffrage. 

The group, representing itself as individual employees of the Big Four firms' Hong Kong branches, took out an ad in Hong Kong's Apple Daily reiterating the demands and expressing support for the protests. Very soon afterwards, though, their employers each released statements assuring the world that they do not, in fact, support them. 

Deloitte said it respects the right of individuals to peacefully express their views, but it emphasized that the ad does not reflect the firm's views. The firm also said it could not verify the source of the statement. E&Y said in its statement that it does not share the views expressed in the ad—and also could not confirm the ad's authenticity. PwC said it opposed any actions that challenge national sovereignty. KPMG, meanwhile, said it opposes any illegal acts and violence, which the Chinese government has said the protesters are engaging in right now. 

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