Having destroyed the autonomy and freedoms of Hong Kong, the CCP, using its proxies in the city administration, has now hired a PR agency to do an image makeover of themselves, following massive global backlash to their draconian imposition of the controversial National Security Law in Hong Kong, which is now being used to stifle free speech and arrest all those who dream of democracy in the erstwhile autonomous city. While the hiring of a PR firm has been in the offing for quite some time now, last year’s pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong derailed such plans, with many leading PR agencies even refusing to do business with the CCP and its stooges in the Hong Kong administration, headed by Carrie Lam.
Consulum, a London-based PR major has now been awarded a $6 million contract, for a period of one year, to improve Hong Kong’s reputation internationally. The hiring of the firm almost coincided with the CCP promulgating the National Security Law, and shoving down authoritarianism down the throats of Hongkongers. Originally, until last year, the tender for hiring a PR firm focussed on the political aspect of Hong Kong, and how the CCP’s image had taken a global hit. However, multiple PR firms refused to work for the CCP, due to which the language of the tender now won by Consulum was amended to make it look like the Hong Kong administration is in fact keen to maintain the city’s reputation as a business hub. The brief of the new tender on paper focussed more on the economic aspects of Hong Kong, rather than the political instability and civil unrest which the city is currently facing. However, even with the amended language of the brief, many PR firms chose not to associate with the CCP.
The Information Services Department (ISD) announced on Monday that Consulum FZ LLC (Consulum) had won the “Relaunch Hong Kong” campaign tender, with a one-year contract worth $6,289,215. The global strategy and communications consultancy specializes in supporting countries and governments, ISD said. “We believe this initiative can help Hong Kong reconnect with global audiences as we gradually reopen for business and visitors after the worldwide fight against Covid-19 subsides,” ISD Deputy Director Brett Free said. The bidding for the contract saw at least seven prospective clients participate, however, two of them withdrew their applications following the CCP’s plan to enforce the National Security Law in Hong Kong.
Consulum, however, is an infamous PR firm, the former clients of whom have been the state of Saudi Arabia and its leader Mohammed Bin Salman, and the firm has also handled the Wahhabi kingdom’s PR campaign following the gruesome murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October 2018. For the same, Saudi Arabia has been subjected to massive international backlash, and had as a result employed the services of PR firm Consulum.
Saudi Arabia is a draconian, medieval and ruthless regime by itself. Yet, it distributed millions of euros to PR agencies in London to carry out international propaganda for itself. The same tactics, and also PR firms, are now being employed by an equally tyrannical and dictatorial CCP.
Essentially, China is willing to spend millions of US dollars in order to carry out massive PR exercises across the world, in an attempt to reinforce the image and reputation of Hong Kong, now under complete CCP control, as a free land still. This is testimony enough to the fact that China has blatantly violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1997, and has trampled upon the substantial freedoms which Hong Kong enjoyed until last week. Dictatorial regimes have always had an affinity towards PR agencies, and outsourcing propaganda campaigns to such firms has been an easy way out always. Further, this has almost always happened when the clients of such firms are guilty, and by hiring a PR firm like Consulum, the CCP has admitted to its guilt.
As for the firm itself, it is all set to be treated like a pariah henceforth. It stares getting completely discredited, because colluding with the CCP can have unprecedented costs outside Chinese territory, more so in a post-COVID world order. With clients including the likes of Saudi Arabia and the Chinese Communist Party, Consulum might have just written its very own epitaph.