Netizens slam BNP Paribas for ‘perfunctory’ statement on HK employee

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/16 22:56:01

BNP Paribas branch in Shanghai. Photo: VCG

Chinese netizens urged a boycott of BNP Paribas and demanded that it dismiss one of its Hong Kong-based employees for supporting Hong Kong riots and secessionism, following a previous statement from the bank that was widely deemed as "not sincere and perfunctory."

In response to netizens' demands, BNP Paribas said that it "felt extremely sorry" over the incident in an email sent to the Global Times on Monday. The company referred to Friday's statement for more information. 

In that statement posted on its website in both Chinese and English, the bank apologized for a social media post from one of its employees.  

"We have spoken to the employee, who has since removed the post, and we have taken immediate action on this matter," the company said. 

"We expect all of our employees to communicate respectfully at all times and we strongly condemn any action or behavior that contributes to division," the statement said. 

The statement came after a user of Facebook and Twitter named Jason Y. Ng called residents who waved China's national flags and sang the Chinese national anthem at the IFC Mall in Hong Kong "monkeys" in one of his Facebook posts. 

Hundreds of Hong Kong residents staged a patriotic flash mob at the mall on Thursday, and they chanted slogans, including "Hong Kong is China's" and "support Hong Kong police" and sang the Chinese national anthem while waving Chinese national flags. 

Ng's original post could not be found on Monday. But screenshots of the post were everywhere on China's Twitter-like Weibo. 

Ng was identified as the head of Debt Capital Markets Legal at BNP Paribas Hong Kong on the website of a global law firm where he was an alumnus. It's not known what Ng's current ties are with BNP Paribas. 

The bank on Monday did not reply to a Global Times reporter's questions on whether Ng was the involved employee and his current position. 

Ng's Facebook and Twitter pages included photos and posts supporting Hong Kong secessionism. He posted photos of him with Joshua Wong Chi-fung, a Hong Kong separatist and an activist in the illegal "Occupy Central" movement  in 2014, eating together in May, and said "It's a bit of a tradition now for me to treat Joshua to a nice meal before a court decision." He asked people to "keep him and so many other imprisoned activists in your prayers." Such posts could still be found on his Facebook page on Monday. 

BNP Paribas, with nearly 500 staff based in China, opened its first office in Shanghai in 1860. It has five branches in the Chinese mainland, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and has cooperated with several Chinese companies and institutions, including Bank of Nanjing, its website said. 

Chinese netizens condemned BNP Paribas for perfunctory statements which "actually tolerated secessionist employees," and called on Chinese companies to cease cooperation with the bank.   

"It's not enough even if he deleted all the secessionist posts. Please dismiss him immediately and seriously deal with other employees who also supported secessionism. Otherwise, you are putting your China business in danger," one netizen said.

Newspaper headline: BNP Paribas faces boycott over statement


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