Disney’s newest theme park is facing investigations concerning poor working conditions and bad pay. The government is also very unhappy with the Disney corporation throwing around its corporate might to receive preferential treatment. Such allegations have been raised before, so astute readers may ask themselves: Why is the government stepping in all of a sudden? The answer: The new park is in China.
Disneyland Hong Kong officially opened Tuesday, but the park has been accessible to several thousand visitors on “rehearsal days.” In the few days the park has been up and running, clashes with the local Chinese government have already occurred. The response from the Chinese government may be one Disney is not used to: The government is not having it.
The local Chinese government is concerned Disney is trying to establish the new resort and the island it resides on as out of their jurisdiction.
One such case arose when visitors who had eaten at restaurants in the new park came down with food poisoning. Local authorities came to the park to investigate the conditions, but Disney officials pressured the arriving inspectors into leaving their badges and uniform hats behind before entering the park to avoid the park’s visitors from becoming suspicious.
To Floridians it is nothing new that Disney is receiving preferential treatment. Disney’s four theme parks, two water parks, six golf courses and numerous hotels and resorts in Orlando are major factors in Florida’s tourism business. Unsurprisingly, the state has given Disney special accommodations ranging from water rights to special permits for land use. As a recent accident at Disney’s EPCOT park has shown, the park is even off limits to security inspections concerning the safety of its rides and is rather expected to govern itself in such regards.
Floridians were also forced to stand idly by as Disney used its corporate might to divert a proposed high-speed rail route to include stops at its parks. These new stops undermined the effectiveness of the proposed route and are one of the reasons why the project is not likely to go ahead in the near future.
Concerning the food hygiene inspectors, the Hong Kong park issued a statement: “We apologize for what happened, it was inappropriate. We respect and comply with all local laws and regulations. We will never let this happen again.”
It’s odd, but it seems our free country has some things to learn from the Chinese in regards of standing up to corporate might.