Video Duration 24 minutes 45 seconds
From: Inside Story

Should foreign firms mind their own business on China’s politics?

Foreign companies are increasingly coming under pressure from Beijing for making political comments deemed sensitive.

China has long been sensitive about what is said at home and controls everything that can affect its image.

Now foreign businesses are feeling the heat.

China’s message is: “Watch what you say if you want to do business here – or pay the price.” 

And that could prove costly for many firms, particularly those in the United States that rely on the Chinese market. They have been vulnerable to boycotts from Chinese consumers and pressured by state media and online platforms.

Content considered sensitive ranges from sympathy with protesters in Hong Kong to adverts seen as racist. And the latest row with the US’s National Basketball Association, or NBA, has raised concerns over freedom of speech.

So are companies prioritising profit?

Presenter: Peter Dobbie


Victor Teo – assistant professor, China Studies Programme, University of Hong Kong

Joseph Cheng – convener, Alliance for True Democracy

Drew Thompson – visiting senior research fellow, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy