HONG KONG—With street protests and opposition groups silenced by China’s enforcement of its national-security law, democracy supporters in Hong Kong are pursuing one of the last avenues available for resistance: their pocketbooks.
Some are choosing to spend money at like-minded local businesses, including restaurants, yoga studios and even a sex-toy shop, while boycotting companies that align with Beijing.
The network of vendors gives pro-democracy consumers a way to express their beliefs in a largely symbolic act of defiance, but also exposes those involved to risks. Hong Kong people risk long jail terms if they take to the streets in protest or speak out on social media.
“Where you choose to spend your money is a decision you make, and that will have an impact on society,” said Cynthia Wong, a university employee who frequents a pro-democracy market. “I want my money to go directly to the people I support,” she said, adding that she hopes her patronage will help keep the movement going.
There are several apps that help users locate yellow businesses, or those that are pro-democracy. Mee—Punish Club is one of the most recent. Since launching in May, it has passed 134,000 downloads globally from the App Store and Google Play, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.