How to Do Guilt-Free Business with Beijing

From SK-II’s problem in China and Japan’s international trade fight to rumors about Carrefour supporting free-Tibet activists, global companies are running into political problems inside China. From the Financial Times:

China has a habit of making western companies wriggle. There was Google – slogan: “Don’t be evil” – squirming over its decision to self-censor its Chinese website.

There was Rupert Murdoch telling this newspaper last year that he had dropped the BBC from his Star TV service for purely commercial reasons, when anyone with an uncensored internet connection could read his 1994 admission that he had done it to please the Chinese government.

Even before they start, this year’s Beijing Olympics are demanding more corporate agility than a gymnast’s triple somersault. Neville Isdell, Coca-Cola’s chief executive, protested on this page this month that its sponsorship of the games did not mean it had abandoned the people of Darfur. With the Olympic torch under assault, backers of the games are facing protests over China’s repression of dissent, as well as its role in Tibet and Sudan. For the games’ sponsors – who also include General Electric, McDonald’s and Johnson & Johnson – it could be a sticky summer.


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