Source: Global Times Published: 2019-9-3
Chinese netizens boycotted the response by Zara after the Spanish fashion brand was suspected of complying with opposition groups' call for a strike by suspending business on Monday, saying that response was perfunctory.
Zara said on its Sina Weibo account late Monday that the company upholds the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the People's Republic of China and supports the "one country, two systems" principle.
The post came after Chinese netizens called for a boycott of the brand amid a report from Hong Kong-based Mingpao Daily that only one Zara store on Hong Kong Island opened on Monday, the day opposition groups called for strikes.
But Chinese netizens refused to buy in Zara's response, saying its Weibo post was a "perfunctory" effort to pacify consumers and rescue its Chinese mainland market.
"It is not even an official statement as it has no official seal," one Weibo user said.
"Why only on Weibo? Please post an official statement on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram," another net user said.
An employee surnamed Gao from the public relation department of Inditex, Zara's parent company, told the Global Times on Tuesday afternoon that all of Zara's 14 stores in Hong Kong opened on Monday, but some delayed their opening time over transportation issues, such as subway interruptions.
But Global Times reporters in Hong Kong found MTR services were not significantly delayed on Monday due to effective law enforcement. Police officers deployed there arrested black-clad protesters who intentionally blocked the doors of MTR trains.
Another department employee said four stores, including one at Harbour City, only opened at around 6pm after all staff members arrived. "We issued the notice to suspend business as we could not ensure staff members would arrive on time."
An estimated 10,000 high school students from nearly 200 schools were mobilized by radical protesters and boycotted classes on Monday.
Gao said that the brand's Weibo post, although not in the form of a statement, represents Inditex's official stance.
But netizens suspected the parent company was indulging its branches and employees in Hong Kong.
Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that enterprises must make a choice amid ongoing Hong Kong riots. "They should be socially responsible instead of only pursuing profits at this crucial moment," Zhang said.
The company should also manage their employees more carefully, he said.
Last month, Cathay Pacific's lukewarm attitude in drawing the line with its radical employees who participated in recent riots in Hong Kong enraged people from the Chinese mainland.
Zhang Yiwu is a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.