- Again and again, the demonstrations in Hong Kong to police violence.
- Civil rights activists and parliamentarians fear the use of modern water cannons. The water cannon chassis comes from Daimler.
- The car concern from Stuttgart declares to observe the developments in Hong Kong "exactly" and to hope for "an early de-escalation".
It's a showcase of strength that Hong Kong's police told local media a few days ago: a massive truck with bars in front of the windows stood in a yard, sweeping away a plastic dummy with two water cannons on the roof. 1200 liters of water per minute can be splashed with high pressure, the range: a few tens of meters. Civil rights activists and liberal parliamentarians in Hong Kong fear the use of these water cannons in the demonstrations, which are now taking place almost daily in the former British Crown Colony. Again and again, there is police violence: tear gas grenades thrown into subway stations without warning, a woman who lost her eyesight after being hit in the face by a police bullet.
So now the most modern water cannons in the world? In Germany, this ensures sharp reactions. Because at least the water cannon chassis comes from the Daimler Group and what can do the force of water, you know in this country: During the protests against the train station Stuttgart 21, a protester was so badly injured by a water cannon, that he almost completely blinded. Jürgen Grässlin, spokesman for the campaign "Action Outcry – Stop the Arms Trade!" Also has this case. in the head, when he explains: "Daimler CEO Ola Källenius must reclaim the water cannons – to protect the democracy movement."
Daimler: One has nothing to reproach
It should not come to that, however. The car manufacturer from Stuttgart declares that it is "watching" the developments in Hong Kong and hoping for "an early de-escalation". But you have nothing to blame, because you observe all export regulations. In addition, the group itself does not manufacture armed vehicles or bodies for military vehicles. It is "beyond our control and responsibility" to mount third-party bodies on Daimler chassis and where the vehicles are resold.
This is an excuse for Grässlin, who has been observing Daimler for many years and is always making the voice at general meetings. In recent years, the group has often exported so-called dual-use vehicles to countries with questionable human rights histories both civilian and military use. "Victims of this inhumane business policy are often civilians," says Grässlin. "We expect Daimler CEO Ola Källenius to take seriously and finally implement the United Nations Global Ethics Guidelines that the Group has signed." Many exports of police and military vehicles would then have to be stopped. In the case of Hong Kong, that would be financially more than bearable for a corporation. The water cannons cost a few million euros. Much bigger, however, is concern among companies that they should mess with Beijing if they interfere in the Hong Kong conflict.
The big accounting firms are under pressure
It caught the airline Cathay Pacific completely. Employees participating in "illegal protests" are not allowed to fly to the People's Republic or cross Chinese territory. Cathay Pacific has therefore imposed a kind of demo ban on all its employees.
Under pressure, now are the major accounting firms: PwC, KPMG, Ernst & Young and Deloitte – often called only the "Big Four". At the end of last week, employees anonymously filed a complaint on the Hong Kong Boulevard Journal Apple Daily in which they expressed their solidarity with the protesters. The Chinese response followed promptly: finding out who donated money for the ad and dismissing those employees immediately was the order. Beijing intervenes in the business.
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