5 JUNE: Protest Swire – corporate accomplices in Hong Kong & Uyghur repression

12 noon Saturday 5 June
Swire House, 59 Buckingham Gate, SW1E 6AJ
Co-hosted with Labour Movement Solidarity with HK
Facebook event

This replaces our regular monthly protest at the Chinese Embassy on the 5th of each month. We hope to see you at the Embassy the day before, 8pm 4 June, to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Join us on 5 June, the day after the anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, to protest the corporate conglomerate Swire and its complicity in Chinese state repression.

[UPDATE: Since we announced this protest, workers at Swire’s Coca-Cola franchise in Hong Kong have launched a strike against their bosses’ aggressive moves to cut wages and violate collective bargaining rights. Our protest will be supporting those workers and their demands for decent pay and union rights. Solidarity!]

Swire does huge business in Hong Kong, from property development and the offshore oil industry to food and beverages. Last year, it gave its official endorsement to the city’s repressive National Security Law. Swire said that the legislation would “contribute to the long-term development of Hong Kong as a world-class business and financial center”.

Swire is the largest shareholder in Cathay Pacific, whose subsidiary Cathay Dragon aided the crackdown on Hong Kong’s democracy movement by sacking workers for supporting the protests in 2019. Those fired included Rebecca Sy, chair of the cabin crew union.

Swire also owns a franchise to manufacture and sell Coca-Cola brand drinks in China and the western USA. Coca-Cola buys sugar from Chinese company COFCO, which has been accused of participating in the Chinese state’s forced labour programmes. These programmes effectively conscript Uyghurs, and members of other repressed ethnic groups from East Turkestan / Xinjiang.

Coca-Cola has also been accused of lobbying against US legislation to ban imports made using this forced labour. And it is a sponsor of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which the Chinese government hopes will be an opportunity to launder its image.

Swire’s history is entwined with British colonialism and now the repressive Chinese state. Its Chair, billionaire Barnaby Swire, and the rest of the Swire family, have donated tens of thousands of pounds to the UK’s Conservative Party.

The crackdowns by the so-called “Communist” Party of China – against Hongkongers, Uyghurs, protesters and unionising workers – are intended to secure and grow the power and wealth of both state bureaucrats and corporate giants like Swire. Against the CCP and its accomplice corporate profiteers, we stand in solidarity with the victims of this repression, and the struggles for freedom, democracy, equality and workers’ rights across China.

Please help us keep everyone safe from COVID-19:
😷 Wear a face covering at all times
📏 Households keep 1m+ apart
🤒 Support from home if you or anyone in your household is vulnerable, has been told to self-isolate, or has shown COVID-19 symptoms in the last 2 weeks.

Striking workers this week at Swire Coca-Cola in Hong Kong. Banners read “Swire Coca-Cola HK Betrays and Abandons Workers” and “Swire Coca-Cola HK Pay Cuts While Sales Increase” (Photo via the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tourism, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations)

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