A Disney shareholder accused the company of “complicity in China’s genocide” during an annual investor meeting—calling the decision to pull its business out of Russia “hypocritical”—citing human rights abuses, according to Fox Business on Friday, March 11.
Paul Chesser, director of the National Shareholder Policy and Legal Center’s Corporate Integrity Project, indicted Disney on March 9. He calls for annual human rights due diligence reports to investigate ethically problematic business dealings and partnerships with foreign entities.
At the annual meeting, Chesser criticized the entertainment giant for turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by the Chinese communist regime, with which it has a juicy business deal while announcing that the company will no longer operate in Russia.
So, according to Chesser, Disney’s decision is more opportunistic than noble, “They had the time and money to film ‘Mulan’ in the part of communist China with among the most disgusting and egregious human rights violations in the world—in Xinjiang.” Chesser referred to the widely reported genocide against ethnic and religious minorities locked up in that region’s slave labor camps.
“Meanwhile, Disney executives say they will not release any new films in Russia due to Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine,” he continued, adding, “Since when do ESG principles mean you get to support genocidal regimes in Asia, but you must oppose colonial warmongering in Europe?”
ESG refers to economic, social, and governance standards. A set of standards for a company’s operations that investors use to evaluate potential investments.
“There seems to be a cognitive dissonance between how these major corporations, including Disney, are treating the whole Russia-Ukraine situation: ‘We’re going to disinvest in Russia,’ and so forth,'” Chesser told the media outlet.
“But they’re not looking at China, whose human rights violations … have been verified and documented by the State Department under both [Presidents] Trump and Biden,” he stated forcefully. “There is a genocide going on [in China], and they do engage in slave labor, and they do force abortions upon the Uighurs,” Chesser said. “These companies are just ignoring it.”
Several pieces of evidence document the genocide the Chinese regime is committing primarily against practitioners of Falun Dafa, a spiritual discipline of the Buddha school, Tibetans, and Uighurs. It has even been discovered that prisoners’ organs are harvested to maintain a lucrative transplant business.
Chesser also mentioned that both Disney and other companies that profit from their operations in China looked the other way when the democratic island of Hong Kong succumbed to the Chinese communist regime.
“What happens when China invades Taiwan?” he said rhetorically. “These companies have already remained silent when Hong Kong fell and China just shut down any freedom of activity and speech there.”