Several law firms with offices in Hong Kong have risked incurring the wrath of Chinese authorities because their websites imply that Hong Kong is an independent territory.
On its directory of office locations, US firm Skadden states that its Beijing and Shanghai offices reside in China, but not Hong Kong.
Norton Ruse Fulbright lists its offices by country, but presents Hong Kong as a nation in its own right.
Similarly, Eversheds Sutherland places its Beijing and Shanghai offices in China, but appears to present Hong Kong as a separate country.
Most firms with offices in Hong Kong take a more cautious approach and make it very clear that Hong Kong is in China.
Which isn't surprising. This week Versace issued a grovelling apology after one of its t-shirts implied that Hong Kong was a country.
BAN THIS FILTH
Fearful of losing access to the lucrative Asian luxury goods market, Versace announced that it was recalling the offending garment. In a statement it proclaimed, "We love China and respect the sovereignty of China's territorial state".
RollOnFriday asked firms if they were going to amend their sites and say sorry to China.
A spokeswoman for Eversheds Sutherland pointed to a second menu of office locations on its website which referred to 'Hong Kong SAR'.
“We follow international diplomatic norms and refer to Hong Kong by reference to its status as 'The Hong Kong SAR' i.e. a Special Administrative Region of the PRC", she said. "This title reflects the fact that Hong Kong operates under a different legal framework to Mainland China”.
Norton Rose Fulbright took direct action. Overnight, it amended its website to state that Hong Kong was in fact "Hong Kong SAR", residing in "Hong Kong SAR".
A spokeswoman for Norton Rose Fulbright said the listing of its Hong Kong office "is based on the fact that under the one country two systems policy, Hong Kong, while part of China, has a separate legal system".
Foolhardy Skadden did not respond to RollOnFriday, apologise to China or amend its website.
A firm kowtowing to China (not Skadden, though).
China is extremely sensitive around the status of Hong Kong, and has spent the last few weeks enthusiastically beating its inhabitants for protesting an extradition bill which would allow detainees to be taken to China, where the Communist party controls the courts. As such, Honkers management should probably be slightly concerned that no-one saw fit to tell them about their antagonistic categorisation of the territory, given it could soon get them bundled into a car and whisked to the mainland.