Netizens launch bubble tea boycott campaign against secession-supporting brands

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/7 22:43:39

Netizens launch bubble tea boycott campaign

Few customers buy bubble tea at one Yifang Fruit Tea store in Beijing's Chaoyang district on Wednesday. (Photo: Liu Caiyu/GT)

Chinese mainland internet users Wednesday launched a boycott of bubble tea brands that they accused of supporting secessionist forces in Hong Kong .

The topic of a bubble tea boycott garnered over 230 million views and some 47,000 comments as of press time on China's twitter-like platform Sina Weibo. 

Internet users accused the Taiwan-headquartered brand Yifang Fruit Tea of participating in the Hong Kong riots and showing support for separatists after images circulated on Sina Weibo revealing a notice at one of its Hong Kong branches that read "Today, we are with Hong Kong. The shop is closing for a day. Hong Kong, go for it." 

The company has nearly 1,000  branch stores, mostly in the Chinese mainland, Taiwan media reported.

Yifang apologized on Tuesday via its Sina Weibo account, saying the company had sacked the part-time employee who posted the statement and reasserting its support for "one country, two systems." 

"The notice was posted by a part-time employee. It cannot represent the stance of Yifang… Yifang firmly opposes any behavior that damages the stability of Hong Kong and will strengthen its management of its branch stores," the statement read. 

In another statement issued by its headquarters later Tuesday,  the Taiwan company asserted the principle of taking no political stance.

The campaign has also spread to other drink stores. The boycott list included CoCo, HeyTea, A Little Tea and Gong Cha, which have thousands of branches in cities across the Chinese mainland. 

 HeyTea - headquartered in Shenzhen - was found putting up a yellow notice outside its store in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, which read "opposing the extradition bill" in apparent support of strikes.

HeyTea posted Monday on Sina Weibo that the notice was a fake one pasted on the store by others while the store had to suspend its service out of security concerns on Monday when many protesters gathered in the mall where it is at.

HeyTea supports "one country, two systems" and does not doubt Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China, its statement said. 

Some customers reached by the Global Times at one Yifang Fruit Tea store in Beijing said they were not aware of Yifang being involved in the allegations on supporting Hong Kong separatists but said if it is true they will stop buying its bubble tea.
Newspaper headline: Netizens launch bubble tea boycott campaign

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