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Many US-based corporations want you to think they have taken a bold stance by cutting operations in Russia because it invaded Ukraine. The list of such corporations spans large, including Disney, Apple, McDonald’s, FIFA, Starbucks, Samsung and others.
At the same time, these businesses continue to make money — and a lot of it — in China, a country which commits genocide. This selective outrage raised tensions at Disney’s shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
Paul Chesser, the director of the shareholder National Legal and Policy Center Corporate Integrity Project, accused Disney’s leadership of “complicity in China genocide” and gross hypocrisy in the way it has handled Russia versus the way it has handled China.
“They had the time and money to film Mulan in the part of communist China with among the most disgusting and egregious human rights violations in the world – in Xinjiang,” Chesser said.
“Meanwhile, Disney executives say they will not release any new films in Russia due to Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine,” Chesser adds. “Since when do ESG principles mean you get to support genocidal regimes in Asia, but you must oppose colonial warmongering in Europe?”
The invasion of Ukraine has been horrific and, quite frankly, rather pointless. So cutting operations in Russia is a justifiable response. Yet for most major enterprises, the decision to do so is more opportunistic than noble.
These corporations don’t care about human rights. They care about their own business and public image, and right now, anti-Russian rhetoric and gestures are all the rage.
Meanwhile, China’s actions have been just as inhumane as Russia’s. China has detained more than a million Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps inside the Xinjiang region. China has inflicted unspeakable cruelty on these people: slave labor, forced abortions, forced sterilization — it’s Nazi Germany.
So why the inconsistent outrage? China’s market is far more lucrative than Russia’s. That’s it. Disney has willingly turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed by China so that it can continue profiting off the Chinese market. Sorry, Uyghurs. Next time, hire a better international PR team.
Props to Chesser for calling out these hypocrites when the press has stayed silent. Somebody had to do it.