floyd tiananmen

The Mayer Brown Diversity & Inclusion Calculation.


US firm Mayer Brown has been criticised by human rights groups for working to remove a memorial to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The Pillar of Shame sculpture, which shows tortured bodies piled nine metres high, is a monument to the hundreds of people who were killed in 1989 when the Chinese military instigated a brutal crackdown on student protesters in Beijing.

Dutch artist Jens Galschiøt loaned his artwork to the University's pro-democracy group, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, in 1997, and for the last 24 years the memorial has stood on the University of Hong Kong campus, where it has served as a focus for candlelit vigils. 

However, the Alliance was forced to disband in September after its entire senior leadership was arrested and charged under China's new national security law in Hong Kong.

Wasting no time, Mayer Brown issued a letter to one of the Alliance's former leaders, Richard Tsoi, informing him that it was acting for the University and that, unless the sculpture was removed within six days, “the Sculpture will be deemed abandoned and the University will not consider any future request from you in respect of the Sculpture, and the University will deal with the Sculpture at such time and in such manner as it thinks fit without further notice". 

Tsoi replied that the request was unreasonable, and that, “As a space with free speech and academic freedom, the University of Hong Kong has the social responsibility and mission to preserve the Pillar of Shame".

Galschiøt said it would take considerably longer than a week to remove the two-ton copper statue, explaining that "there is a great possibility that the work of art will suffer irreparable damage if handled by other than experts".

The artist told RollOnFriday that the demand was "the kind of methods that an Italian mafia boss will use", and that Mayer Brown's involvement was "morally reprehensible".

"I believe that Mayer Brown is morally and ethically responsible for helping to destroy the only mark of remembrance of the Tiananmen peace plan that exists on Chinese territory", he said.

Others reacted with dismay that Mayer Brown was helping the University to scrub the massacre from history at China's bidding.

Dan Hindsgaul, interim director at Amnesty International, said the demand to remove the art "shows how fear and self-censorship have spread in the wake of the crackdown on civil rights in Hong Kong". 

"China wants to erase the deaths of hundreds of peaceful students at Tiananmen Square in 1989 from the history books. But the world will not forget what happened when China crushed peaceful protest. Neither will the world forget how freedom of expression and other rights are being crushed in Hong Kong", he said.

Everyone deserves legal representation, but Mayer Brown's decision to help suppress a memorial to murdered protesters is notable given its recent proclamations about human rights.

The US firm was proud to align itself against state brutality last summer, once it became politic for corporates to endorse the Black Lives Matter protests. Outgoing Chairman Paul Theiss declared that Mayer Brown "stands in solidarity with all who lawfully seek justice for those who have been denied their civil liberties and human rights", and affirmed that "we have a corresponding responsibility to speak up when our core values are undermined".

Luckily for Mayer Brown's bottom line, its dedication to human rights doesn't appear to extend to Hong Kong, where declaring support for protestors being jailed and killed carries a financial risk, whereas supporting the regime that's doing it attracts considerable financial opportunity.

Despite its "responsibility to speak up", the firm did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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Comments

Anonymous 15 October 21 08:58

"...we have a corresponding responsibility to speak up [through threatening letters] when our core values [of making money regardless of the social or ethical cost] are undermined."

Yikes 15 October 21 09:53

The HK legal establishment is generally supportive of Beijing (although many lawyers are naturally appalled at what's happening in the territory).  MB is also primarily a real estate firm in HK and RE as a sector is generally supportive of Beijing.  This puts MB HK (where I used to work) in a tricky position, but obviously given what Paul Theiss has said there will be a swift change of position!  

Anonymous 15 October 21 10:13

Meanwhile, America is disturbing the China Taiwan relationship, because it needs an external enemy to save its democracy and unite its divided nationals; regardless that China is a peaceful and righteous country and there is no evidence of ideological extremism like the USA ("American Democracy under Pressure", Rachman Review, FT). This China hating trend including the Hong Kong rioting and the double standard given to the Capitol Hill riotors, both are domestic terrorists but the anti-china creed is applauded as heros, which precedes the sanction of Hong Kong's economic status, is a classic sign of imperialism and post-colonialism, which are called US/UK exceptionalism. If you can sell a nation Brexit convincing the people it is ultimately good to be acting against sense and their own economic interests, these people will believe anything as the trend goes. Keep blowing that wind, crack your cheeks and blow.

 

Anonymous 15 October 21 10:38

Not sure what all of the fuss is about here.

I thought that we loved tearing statues down? It was super cool only a couple of moments ago...

Indeed, I was repeatedly assured by both the Great and the Good in the summer of 2020 that statues were transient things which deserved no special treatment, and that if those with the means wished to tear them down then that was all that mattered. Due process and differing opinion be damned.

If they'd decided that something wasn't worthy of memorialisation then that was all that mattered, into the canal it was going to go - and the fact that others might disagree with that analysis didn't factor into it (and they were all probably racists anyway).

They were very clear at the time that preserving history, even where it had been unpleasant and cruel and even where it might be painful for some to remember it, was unimportant. Tearing a statue down was 'making history' they told me, and so we weren't to complain that doing it was a deliberate act of vandalism intended to whitewash the public space of all traces of history that they disapproved of. It was a righteous act intended to build a better tomorrow, so we weren't to accuse them of trying to whitewash history and we were to call the people objecting to it the fascists.

So it's all very odd that the same people have changed their tune now that the Chinese government has started singing it.

How funny how quickly things go out of fashion.

 

 

 

Or was it all bullpoop and what people were really saying was that it was ok for a small number of privileged fools to smash up things that they didn't personally like, in order to ensure that the public space only showed an account of history that they considered morally pure, while expecting everyone else to nod along and refrain from doing anything similar irrespective of how they might feel about monuments, history and the rule of law?

Anonymous 15 October 21 10:53

Basically wot anonymous said, in fact his/her words are so perfect that they deserve repetition. I wonder if we could get kids repeating them before class every morning..

China is a peaceful and righteous country and there is no evidence of ideological extremism like the USA

China is a peaceful and righteous country and there is no evidence of ideological extremism like the USA

China is a peaceful and righteous country and there is no evidence of ideological extremism like the USA

China is a peaceful and righteous country and there is no evidence of ideological extremism like the USA

Anonymous 15 October 21 11:42

@10:53

But China is s peaceful and prosperous country, whether you like it or not. In fact, that's the opinion of Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the foreign policy magazine The National Interest.

If you plan to protest with gasoline any time soon, may I suggest that you stay out of this world?

Anonymous 15 October 21 11:51

Well, nobody with a name like Heilbrunn could possibly be wrong about authoritarian regimes.

 

I'm certainly convinced.

Anonymous 15 October 21 12:12

Why is there no statute anywhere in London to commemorate all the colonial crime victims?

Anonymous 15 October 21 12:14

@11:51

Well, if being sarcastic is the same as being right and as good as education, you have convinced me.

Anonymous 15 October 21 12:24

How funny that Hong Kong refugees are welcome be Afghans are not? Because Hong Kong refugees are economic migrants with a bit of cash morally loose enough to bad mouth China for a green card. Whereas Afghans will be a burden to society.

 

Still, the turkeys are not gonna pluck themselves. 

@Anonymous 10:38 15 October 21 12:28

One statue was glorifying a slave trader. The other is commemorating innocent victims of a state massacre. Of course the two situations are different. It says a lot about you that you’d try to characterise them equally. 

Anonymous 15 October 21 13:26

@12:24

Really? Calling everyone escaping persecution in Hong Kong "morally loose" because they are willing to speak up against a totalitarian regime for significant human rights abuses (which they have experienced firsthand)? 

It's one thing that Afghan refugees have been negatively portrayed and less welcomed (which is very unfortunate and needs to be addressed), but to trash those from HK seems unnecessary. 

Anonymous 15 October 21 13:30

"I believe that Mayer Brown is morally and ethically responsible for helping to destroy the only mark of remembrance of the Tiananmen peace plan that exists on Chinese territory", he said.

 

Tiananmen peace plan ? Isn't it Tiananmen massacre? 

Eggery 15 October 21 13:38

Even the morally reprehensible are entitled to legal representation. MB is just doing it’s job.

Anonymous 15 October 21 13:41

F*** Xi Jinping and f*** all the totalitarian diktats and ethnic cleansing going on in China.  There needs to be a reminder of this on every street corner.

Anonymous 15 October 21 13:47

I think it is fair to say that China was wrong the way they dealt with the woke protestors of their own in 1989. I think Chinese would agree also. But I also think that America and its loyal side kicks in Europe and the Pacific should recognise that China is no different from any other country. And its people gained its wealth through sheer hard work and the sooner you recognise that the sooner you can recognise the real problems, which many ministers in government today have written about in a book called Britain Unchained. 

Happy Friday, everyone! 

BST2018 15 October 21 13:55

@12.34 it's a perfectly rational stance (though one open to full debate) that a country in deciding who to allow to  take in terms of immigrants adopts an Australia//Denmark style approach and allows people in who will financially benefit the country but not those who won't.  These are ultimately political decisions 

Anonymous 15 October 21 13:57

@13:30

What have the bus driver and his wife from Hong Kong now living in Liverpool possibly done to need to escape from the rule of law in Hong Kong, which by the way is English law and independent judiciary to this day. Be honest, have they killed someone while protesting or seriously injured someone while protesting, or have they even gone out to protest as a night out, escaping from their tiny flat?

It is well known the Hong Kong refugees are here because of high housing prices and they can continue to claim the Hong Kong government's handout as long as they have s bank in Hong Kong. It is well known among the Chinese community here that these working class or young and radicalised kids from Hong Kong are just really unhappy about their rising costs in Hong Kong and not being able to ever afford a small flat and share the wealth. The only oppression is these domestic terrorists have invited the Anglo Saxon colonists to invade itself and the vast majority of citizens in Hong Kong who have jobs have to pick up the pieces from the media attack.

Of course, to tell the English media to be honest is impossible and useless. Enjoy Brexit.

Righteous and Auspicious Genuine Commentator 15 October 21 14:17

Anon @1357 is quite correct. China is a peaceful and welcoming nation, as thousands of recently re-educated Uyghur comrades can attest. Those who push the gangster-like narrative of decadent Western regimes are paper tigers. All of this is a neo-colonial dialectic to oppose China’s legitimate and noble re-occupation of the aptly-named South China Sea by the pacifistic and benevolent People’s Liberation Army. All opposition will be subject to benign and peaceful re-education.

Anonymous 15 October 21 14:20

@13:57

Your comment would fit perfectly in the Global Times (i.e. the CCP's mouthpiece).  

So the 30,000+ people who have come to the UK on the BN(O) visa scheme have all killed or seriously injured someone? All the young families with their kids are 'domestic terrorists'? Do you actually know any of these so called 'working class' / 'radicalised kids' on a personal level? Had no idea former lawyers, accountants, social workers, engineers and teachers are considered 'radicalised'...

If you hate the English media and 'Anglo Saxon colonists' so much, why are you even bothering to read anything in English? Perhaps you can run back to Beijing into the warm arms of Mr. Xi.

Self-Appointed Supreme Moral Arbiter Of The Universe 15 October 21 14:45

@12:28

That's right, the statue that we didn't like was reminding us of history in a way that we didn't personally like. So it was fine to act unilaterally to destroy it.

On the other hand, this statue that we do like is reminding us of history in a way that we do personally like. So it is an outrage that anyone is thinking of even moving it, even if they do so via legal processes.

It's amazing to me that the original poster did not see the clear distinction between the two.

 

 

I mean, sure, the Chinese Government will be along to tell us that the statue that we do like was 'glorifying' people they consider domestic terrorists and seperatists - but obviously we'll wave that away as the right kind of glorifying because those are people who we personally approve of, and so that makes it all ok.

Anonymous 15 October 21 14:54

Climate change is another great topic that countries like the USA try to apply double standard, but per capita America is the dirtiest country in the world. 

America has also the worst human rights records against its enemies, whoever that is this year. 

About Hong Kong, it is clearly a media swindle, the people in Hong Kong have been living under English law to date and Lord Sumption points out that Hong Kong continues to have an independent judiciary. The Oxford scholar interviewed by the BBC also confirmed China's right to legislate the national security law, it is the implementation of those laws that matters. After six months of domestic terrorists attacks, after much world media coverage, the western English media still rushed to condemn the Chinese side in favour of Donald Trump. This is a huge blow to the confidence in the English media. So it is actually a good idea these days to learn Chinese or read the less well written English news from Chinese media outlets to get real news about China. 

What's is far more serious to Britain is that those who can fail to pass the stringent legal test to come here as refugees can come even though they have been convicted of a crime in Hong Kong under the English judiciary. 

This is why English lawyers and judges are now facing harassment from these domestic terrorists, who only wish to bring destruction to the establishment, except America share an interest with them in their crusade to contain China's economic and political influence. 

Anonymous 15 October 21 14:56

Condemn the wrong doing from all sides by all people, but be careful about the deeper geopolitical struggles and know the core interest of the country you live in. The true enemy is not globalisation, it is greed and envy.

Anonymous 15 October 21 14:59

@14:20

Not all protesters apply for the visa, so most people who applied are economic migrants, given how generous it is. The British government knows the UK needs migrant workers but it operates a majority government based on an anti-immigration rhetoric. Therefore, the only way is to condemn China while steal some wealthy "refugees" who are not refugees at all.

Gordon 15 October 21 19:47

now that Mayer Brown has ducked out from the engagement, more ammunition for the ccp mouthpieces / "wumaos" above

Anonymous 15 October 21 20:53

... if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left (Margaret Thatcher).

It's time to learn German as soon as Brexit happened and Chinese as soon as the Donald happened. How romantic that the Aukus folks will ride into the sunset together. But the world moves on from that, let's hope we can find the courage to progress societies and grow together in peace. White working class have got to start slaughtering pigs and plucking turkeys, for example. China need to work on keeping the working class envies of Hong Kong to a minimum and make sure they can afford housing within the city somehow. 

I wish all the kids from Hong Kong a really great time in the UK. Many of them may have come with student visa, it is simply nonsensical to apply for an expensive visa if the bno route is available. After all, Hong Kong has been stealing a lot of British born Chinese with HK ancestry to go back to Hong Kong to settle. It's up to the individual.

But of course, the way the war torn refugees are treated are just terrible in comparison. These are the workers more likely to pluck turkeys and butcher pigs in a farm surely. 

Righteous and Auspicious Genuine Commentator 16 October 21 09:30

Comrade Anonymous, it is with much fraternal regret and in the spirit of Party solidarity that I must inform you that you have been made subject to a Party investigatory report. Our 0.1 yuan per post was clearly being mis-spent, and we will not tolerate the misuse of Party funds on ineffective comments.

You must report immediately to your local Party headquarters for re-education. Remember to bring a toothbrush.

 

HQ 16 October 21 12:52

Coming from HK I can say that the statue issue can definitely be seen from more than one side.

The problem here is the 'wokewashing' that law firms indulge in these days. They should just stay out of it, if you ask me. 

Anonymous 16 October 21 19:20

>the western English media still rushed to condemn the Chinese side in favour of Donald Trump

Anyone who in all seriousness can write something like the above, must have read Western news with some really strange filters.

Anonymous 17 October 21 16:18

The CIA pays hooligans in Hong Kong to pretend to be student protesters, according Taiwan's nationalist news. It is well known. Taiwan is a Chinese country, China is a Chinese country, they speak the same language and inherited the same culture. The kind of people who would pretend to care about Taiwan or Hong Kong or any part of China and preach the spread of western values to replace the clearly thriving indigenous cultures do not have any interest or good will in the prosperity of people in those places. 

The USA has a huge budget for the CIA every year to sabotage countries around the world to spread the American creed, paying for articles, like this one indeed, to spread rumour, prejudices, racial hatred, and political non-sense. 

News in Britain must be rooted in Britain written for Britons for Britons. We are not obligated to kiss the American arse. We do not have a trade deal with them anyway. If Britain is treated like a dog by America and willing to cooperate, the British people need to know and the elite need to acknowledge that we are treated and willing to be the dog of America at least. 

Anonymous 17 October 21 16:48

The key conflict of belief between the East and the West is whether democracy is the one true faith and the only way in which mankind can achieve lasting peace. Take Singapore, it is by no means a democracy by Western standards, but it is also democratic and affluent and prosperous. It is not one size fits all. To sabotage any country due to a difference of faith or political creed or philosophical belief is nothing new. In the not so distant dark ages, Queen Mary - Bloody Mary - had the protestants burned. 

It is the distrust and political rollercoaster that is the true danger. So I treat any clearly biased and racially and politically prejudiced news or a rejuvenation of old news (like this one which is about an event in 1989) with caution. 

Special Administrative Vassal State 19 October 21 00:58

There are actually interesting property issues involved since the statue has been there for decades. Per Professor Kelvin Low (National University of Singapore):

"As an involuntary bailee, the University is entitled (at least as a matter of private law) to demand the sculptor's owner retake possession of it but this will certainly require the giving of reasonable time, especially since it has previously acquiesced to its permanent display on campus. Any action taken by the University to destroy the sculpture will entail liability in conversion. Unlike the case of Robot Arenas Ltd v Waterfield [2010] EWHC 115 (QB), the University has not demonstrated any urgent need for vacant possession of the Haking Wong podium, and it knows who the owner of the sculptor is."

Whilst it is now generally accepted that abandonment exists in the common law, this requires intent on the part of the owner (here Galschiøt) and the suggestion in the letter that anyone can deem another to have abandoned goods simply by inaction on the part of the latter after a period of time cannot be justified on any basis. 

Moreover, it seems highly unlikely that the amount of time stipulated in the letter would be sufficient reasonable notice."

Regardless of the legal analysis, it's indisputably the government's attempt to whitewash the CCP's history.

AbsurdinessBrown 20 October 21 13:43

It's appalling.

But will highlighting it make a difference?   I doubt it.  I stated on RoF years ago how significant I though the yellow umbrella movement was but because it wasn't fashionable then no one gave a shit. This will be another Kony2012 blip unless it successfully turned into anti-China propaganda to justify war (which is still a possibility, if the US can't get what it wants out of rejigging trade arrangements with China).

After I returned to Oz from living in China I had many dimwits gush to me about how wonderful it was that "the Chinese could achieve so much".  Like all television watching morons they ignored the cost of the hyper development.  All communist countries only achieve development at significant expense of their poor, and China is no exception. Workers who haven't been paid for months who strike get arrested because organising is only permitted by the CCP.  It was well known for over a decade how Orwellian the Chinese regime has been but everyone still wanted to look at the shiny towers and gush over the achievements because at that time the Western corporation own television wasn't telling them to be critical. Even the Pharaoh could not have wished for a bigger bunch of sycophants.

Putting all of that aside, China made a deal with Britain that the Territory (as it was referred to in the last days) could maintain its way of life and it has well and truly reneged on that.  That said, many of the grievances that the young HongKongers have arise from economics, as China has prioritised Shanghai over HongKong and HongKong has had its ups and downs since 1 July 1997.

(I got a discount for my lunch that day, as the restaurant owner in Sai Kung told me he was celebrating the reunion.)

Mainlanders are dumb masters, they can dictate but they can't persuade. They will use blunt instruments because they cannot use fine ones.  In this case their blunt instrument is Mayer Brown.

 

Anonymous 21 October 21 13:26

Nothing about this changes the fact that the SRA cleared Mark Hastings of all wrongdoing.

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