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Lancome Bent Under Beijing’s Pressure

Lancome planned to have a free concert on June 19 featuring Hong Kong singer Denise Ho. However, under mounting pressure from China’s state media and "patriotic" netizens, Lancome backed out of the deal. This event and Lancome have received substantial international criticism.

In 1914, Denise Ho had been arrested for participating in the Occupy Central protest in Hong Kong. In addition, last month she met with Dalai Lama.

On June 4, Global Times published a posting with a question for netizens: "Some netizens reported that the hot selling Listerine and Lancome both invited Denise Ho to promote their products. Denise Ho supported Hong Kong independence and also, in Japan last week, advocated Tibetan independence. … What do you think?"

In no time netizens responded with the answer, "From now on absolutely boycott Lancome products."

Over a hundred Chinese netizens posted messages on Lancome’s official website in China, demanding that Lancome get out of China. Lancome China clarified that Denise Ho was not its product endorser. Over 40,000 Chinese netizens responded with their criticizm that Lancome was "playing a word game."

Lancome Hong Kong issued a statement on June 5 that its invitation to Denise Ho was "purely to share music, without any work endorsement relationship."

Late that night, Lancome issued an announcement saying, "We decided to cancel the event due to possible safety concerns."

Lancome’s kowtowing to Beijing irritated Hongkongese. By June 6, over 44,000 people clicked the "angry" button on Lancome’s two Facebook’s announcements.

Among the Internet messages, some Hong Kong netizens stated that they would not buy Lancome products anymore, some called for boycotting all products by L’Oreal, Lancome’s parent company, and some asked Lancome to fire its employees and public relations contractors who worked on the two announcements. [Editor’s Note: On Wednesday, June 8, Lancome shut its main stores in Hong Kong.]

Source: BBC Chinese, June 6, 2016