Lancome shuts Hong Kong shops as 'kowtow' controversy grows

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Lancome has shut all its Hong Kong shops for a day as protesters accused the cosmetics brand of kowtowing to Beijing when it scrapped a promotional event featuring an activist singer.

The company sparked a backlash in Hong Kong with its cancellation of Denise Ho's mini-concert. The move apparently came in response to criticism by Chinese nationalist newspaper Global Times that led to calls to boycott the brand in mainland China.

Several dozen protesters marched to an unstaffed Lancome counter in a downtown department store Tuesday and taped up signs accusing the company of self-censorship.

Ho, known for her support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, said in an interview that she was shocked that a multinational brand would give in to internet bullying and "obvious political pressure."