Mainland netizens have called for a counter-boycott of brands that use pro-democracy singer Denise Ho Wan-see as an ambassador or support her.

French cosmetics giant Lancôme cancelled a June 19 concert featuring Ho after Chinese state mouthpiece Global Times accused her of being a supporter of Hong Kong and Tibetan independence movements, although Ho has rarely spoken on the debate.

Denise Ho MOOV
Photo: Facebook/MOOV

An article on China’s Guancha cited a message on Facebook stating that the music streaming service MOOV had pledged to give Ho “permanent employment.” It reported that MOOV was a company owned by tycoon Richard Li Tzar-kai, son of Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-shing.

Several mainland media outlets then started to reprint the news, which attracted netizens to call for boycott of brands that the Li family owns, including Watson’s and ParknShop, claiming they supported Hong Kong independence by supporting Ho.

Richard Li
Richard Li. File

In response, MOOV’s parent company PCCW issued a statement saying that the company and Richard Li have never supported, and will not support independence for Hong Kong.

“Mr. Richard Li and MOOV would like to clearly state that the company and Mr. Li respect freedom of expression,” it read. “However, both Mr. Li and the Company are staunchly opposed to the independence of Hong Kong and it is their view that the independence of Hong Kong would not be feasible, and discussing Hong Kong’s independence is a waste of society’s resources.”

“MOOV has always supported the development of the music industry, and has no intention to engage in political matters,” it added. “MOOV understands from its staff managing its website content that the expression ‘permanent employment’ was implemented prior to online comments which linked the message to political discussions about Hong Kong’s independence.”

denise ho
Denise Ho. File photo: Stand News.

Listerine recently launched a campaign involving Ho. The company – and its parent company Johnson & Johnson – have also faced boycotts this week.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.