Zara should not make serious misjudgments

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/3 16:43:40

Photo: VCG

On September 2, a strike campaign was called by some extremist forces in Hong Kong, the so-called three strikes of boycotting work, class and business. Extreme forces were trying their best to build momentum, but not many people actually responded. September 2 was the first day of the new school semester in Hong Kong. Our reporter interviewed the middle school students who had just finished class. Reporters could go shopping in convenience stores, had meals at a restaurant, took a taxi, went to the airport and took a plane. Our immediate feeling is that the three strikes campaign is weak, the actual impact is very limited.

However, it was noticed that some of the Hong Kong stores of the fashion chain Zara were closed during the day. The notice they posted only indicated that the business would be closed for one day on September 2, without explaining the reason. 

Why did some Zara stores in Hong Kong close for a day at such a sensitive time? There are reasons to question this. Zara has not taken active steps to eliminate this doubt quickly. Objectively, it has formed some kind of response expected by the extremist forces. The attitude of Zara is not in line with the collective efforts of Hong Kong society to stop violence and restore order.

Benefited from stability and prosperity around the world, Zara has become a global brand. It has reaped the benefits of peace and progress in Hong Kong and Chinese mainland over the years. The current turmoil in Hong Kong threatens the fundamental interests of the Hong Kong people and has also brought trouble to Chinese mainland society. Zara has the responsibility to clearly respond to the efforts of Hong Kong society to stop violence. It should not be seen as suspicious. 

Yet Zara's performance has been disappointing. It is true that big companies sometimes face dual pressures when the political controversy intensifies. But that's not the reason why Zara closed the store in Hong Kong on Monday. There are so many international brands and chain stores in Hong Kong. Zara is the first internationally famous brand suspected of catering to the three strikes campaign. Whatever the reason, it has set a very negative example. 

One cannot help but conclude that the management of Zara Hong Kong, or at least some of its stores, is willing to echo the three strikes. They are even willing to make a special show of it. They probably think that some of the risk is worth it.

Zara, which is based in Spain and operates globally, should have the principle of staying away from political disputes. Under the current situation in Hong Kong, what does it mean to stay away from politics? Comparing with operating in line with the normal operation of most businesses,  leading the way in closing stores obviously invites more political interpretation.  

Zara caused resentment among netizens on the Chinese mainland last year when it marked Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as countries. It's easy to associate these two things this time. And if there's any chance that the last incident was an oversight, the closure of some Zara stores in Hong Kong on Monday can only be seen as deliberate.

Zara needs to make a solemn explanation and correct some of its practices to give a serious explanation to the people who love Hong Kong and the mainland. The events in Hong Kong now draw a lot of attention from Chinese society as a whole. The public will not accept the Zara store's move in Hong Kong. Zara should not make serious misjudgments.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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