pit shame

ROF’s solution for Mayer Brown’s PR team.

Mayer Brown is facing a boycott in China after it decided to stop helping a client remove a memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre. 

The University of Hong Kong instructed Mayer Brown to pressurise democracy campaigners to remove the 'Pillar of Shame', a monument to students killed by the Chinese military in the 1989 massacre, from its campus.

Mayer Brown’s letter demanding the removal of the statue within six days prompted an outcry from pro-democracy and human rights groups, who expressed dismay that a US law firm was helping the Chinese regime to suppress recognition of the massacre. 

Amid a PR nightmare, Mayer Brown decided to drop the controversial instruction. "Going forward, Mayer Brown will not be representing its long-time client in this matter",  the firm said in a terse statement last Friday.

Its u-turn triggered an angry response from pro-China quarters. Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying implored companies in China not to work with Mayer Brown, declaring on Facebook, "Yes I am calling for a China-wide boycott of Mayer Brown".

Claiming that the firm caved to pressure from the west, he wrote, “From here on, no client in Hong Kong or Mainland China, particularly those with Chinese government connections, will find Mayer Brown dependable". He also asked the Hong Kong Law Society to investigate the firm.

Mayer Brown's predicament is the latest example of the tension between the perception of China as a source of business and the perception of China as an enthusiastic abuser of human rights.

In March, the regime imposed sanctions on Essex Court Chambers after four of its barristers published a legal opinion describing China's treatment of the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang as a genocide. The penalty prompted another chambers to warn its tenants not to criticise the country.

Mayer Brown did not respond to a request for comment, perhaps because it knows whatever it says will enrage one half of the world or the other.

Tip Off ROF


Gladboy 22 October 21 09:40

Wonder what MB’s said to the gaggle of HK lawyers who went off on a frolic with this work. Their PRs must have had coronaries.  

Anonymous 22 October 21 09:43

Genuinely feel quite sorry for Mayer Brown in this situation.

The Chinese government are such d1cks.

Anon 22 October 21 10:55

The time when lawyers could play both ends off the middle is coming to an end. Firms are going to have to choose whether they want to be successful in either the US or Chinese sphere of influence.

Enter Name 22 October 21 13:30

This should be directly contrasted with Mayer Browns virtue signaling around diversity and inclusion. 

Observation number 1: Mayer Brown virtue signals about increasing diversity, supporting women and moving towards a more equal society. 

Observation number 2: Mayer Brown takes money from, aids, and by all definitions, does business with the CCP, in their agenda of genocide, enforced sterilization (and brutal rape) of Chinese and Uighur women, and helps them cover up past human rights abuses. 

Anon 22 October 21 15:15

@ 13:30


It's sad but most regimes, East and West, spend a lot of time covering up past and present atrocities caused by themselves or their agents. It's a good money earner for those that assist them

Anonymous 22 October 21 16:01

this could be very tricky for MB as the HK Law Soc rules are very agin firms sacking clients - there are very few reason that would allow for a firm to stop work after accepting instructions - illegality and incapability being pretty much it.  Certainly, running away from a PR disaster is not on the list.  Herein lies the great pondering;  if you work in China (and that includes HK), then beware of poking the dragon because it bites, hard.

Anon 22 October 21 22:25

Mayer Brown has shoddy global leadership that is disliked by most the partnership. The strong man only cares about his grip on his wallet. 

MT 23 October 21 00:40

Reminds me of when I worked at a Silver Circle who's strategy included targeting the Chinese Government as a client. It already had an office out there. A brand name corporate from the US contacted us to say one of its employees was about to get on a plane back to the US when he was arrested for spying - could we look after him?  Me to the Global Head of Compliance: we shouldn't  accept these instructions if the firm's strategy is to get more Government work.  Him: it'll be fine.  The Chinese Government won't persecute our employees out there.  Me: er...are we talking about the same Government??   

Anonymous 24 October 21 04:45

"Perception" — that's exactly that. 

Hong Kong is not happy about America's unfair sanctions and attacks, including brainwashing and bribing the youth to hold opinions like The Alliance in the 19th century was a force of justice, justifying colonialism. 

If you want to earn Chinese money, you cannot flirt with the anti-china creed. Or both side will react.

Ask yourself, what is your culture? Anti-china American or multilateral globalist?

Anonymous 24 October 21 18:35

Standing from a purely strategic point of view, America need to attack China despite the lack of proofs about Xinjiang and Hong Kong, because the USA has only one vote in the UN, and hundreds of countries are backing China currently. America only has the absolute voting advantage in the IMF. It must assert its world dominance by taking down number two.

America has killed countless by way of war, which they do not count as human rights crimes. Its close ally Saudi Arabia has no human rights. But it is not a target because it listens to America and pays homage to it. It is just about American hegemony, not values, as it's clear that Europe cares not to back America's war. 

Cotton in Xinjiang are harvested by machine mostly. America is an absolutely liar by trying to cause racial and religious wars within China, in the name of human rights. This seems to be a long term strategy of America. A lie repeated a thousand times sometimes becomes the truth. 

Anonymous 24 October 21 18:44

Does Mayer Browne or any law firm have to be grilled for doing their jobs? What about criminal lawyers who help criminals?

This has happened in April 2021:

President Joe Biden has repealed sanctions on top officials of the Hague-based court imposed by Donald Trump. The move is in line with bringing the US back into the multilateral fold under the new administration.

Will Roll on Friday ever stand up to the world bully, instead of helping it with its propaganda? 


Anonymous 25 October 21 09:05

We can read and judge for ourselves, thanks @18:30. 

Western media must allow different voices or go down the same route as Nazi Germany did.

Anonymous 25 October 21 09:07

The USA has been busy: Are the following not the new Chinese Exclusion Acts? 

Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act 2020 to ban Chinese tech companies; 

Strategic Competiton Act of 2021 to counter the "malign influence" of the Chinese government; 

US Innovation and Competition Act 2021 (originally the Endless Frontier Act) specifically to meet China challenges; 

CIA founded the China Mission Centre; 

Countering China Economic Coercion Act 2021; 

South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act 2021.

If China cannot defend itself, no other country, ally or not, ever will.

Anonymous 25 October 21 10:01

British media must be rooted in Britain and report for Britons. 

If it does not matter that the WHO confirmed that COVID-19 comes from animals, or clear evidence of machine harvested Xinjiang cotton, or that Hong Kong has an independent judiciary to implement legislations the Chinese parliament is entitled to legislate... British media must report them truthfully.

Even if the western media only serve a small minority creed of people from America, which sold Brexit to Britain with social media manipulation immediately after China and the UK agreed to trade the Chinese currency in London, British media must report them truthfully.

If Asian countries are critical of the far right creed trying to steal the 21st century and the projection of growth and prosperity from EurAsia, British media must report them truthfully. 

Because you can choose to fight an empty perception of the past or grasp the opportunities of the future. Countries have chosen to wait and see how the two giants fight —

The Americans may think they will "protect" Taiwan. As a thug, it only means attacking China by using the Chinese island. The Taiwan people can see what is happening, they have just voted to fire a pro-America legislator. 

It is better to study for the test than heading towards the unknown and only to fail to recognise the ignorance thereafter. Jo Biden should know.

But we listen to Boris. Our HMS Diamond has had technical issues twice during the war game with allies. Twice is not an accident. We are still and always will be Europeans I think. We do not have a trade deal with America, so we do not work for free. We can join ASEAN and become Asian as long as it works. 

Anonymous 25 October 21 13:01

Wow.  Chinese state propaganda on ROF. ROF now in the big league.  Watch out for ROF being targetted by hackers and ROF being stopped by the great firewall.  Free Hong Kong, Lets see what the Chinese state does with this post.

AbsurdinessBrown 26 October 21 12:10

China may be the pinata of the moment given the US attempts to build a case for war to erase its national debt with the PRC, but if you are going to collaborate as MB was then you knew that already.  Their withdrawal is not anything worth commending them for.

The youths killed in TianAnMen were young, idealistic fools and in no way a serious challenge to the authority of Beijing.  But Chinese do not handle any criticism well and the overreaction by the Party is typical.  One only needs to look at the Hundred Flowers Movement that Mao set up to root out the gullible intellectuals who dared speak the truth in face of complete (and incompetent) Communist Party Control.

The monument should stand, at the very least as a warning to the youth of Hong Kong who have already lost the promise made before their birth that their way of life would exist until 2047.

dearie 28 October 21 09:57

It is both hilarious and sad that most of the china bot replies on here read like a jumble of fortune cookies.

Anon 01 November 21 15:00

@ 13:01. Free Hong Kong from what? They hardly enjoyed any form of democracy once we (Britain) took control following the conclusion of the opium wars. Can you name any elected leaders of HK during the British era on control?

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