McDonald’s Partnership w/ Chinese Gov’t Means It’s in Business w/ Tyrants

On Wednesday, National Legal and Policy Center presented a “Congruency Report on Human Rights” proposal at McDonald’s Corporation‘s annual shareholder meeting, which would require the company to explain the misalignment of its stated policies on human rights with its company actions, especially under oppressive governments’ such as China‘s.

The company’s board of directors opposed our proposal, as explained on pages 99 of its proxy statement.

NLPC filed a detailed proxy memorandum with the Securities and Exchange Commission in support of its proposal.

Speaking as sponsor of the resolution was Paul Chesser, director of NLPC’s Corporate Integrity Project. The transcript of his two-minute remarks follows:

Good morning.


Since our China-focused proposal last year, McDonald’s has doubled down on its expansion in China, seeking to grow to at least 10,000 restaurants there by 2028.


Also since then, media outlets have told of an increasing caution by U.S. companies over doing business in, and with, China, due to increasingly unacceptable risks there.


For the most part, during the last 12 months, only two major U.S. companies have resisted that trend, and have instead intensified their growth in China: Those are Starbucks and McDonald’s.


Starbucks has had a terrible year and its share price is in the toilet.


McDonald’s stock performance hasn’t been quite as bad, but it’s still been poor.


Thus we are back, addressing China and human rights with this year’s proposal, because we see a disparity between McDonald’s claims to protect human rights, and its actions.


How can we take seriously McDonald’s claim that it protects human rights, when it is in a near-equal business partnership with a Chinese government-owned business entity?


The U.S. State Department says the Chinese government is responsible for atrocities including genocide, forced sterilization, forced abortions, organ harvesting, and torture.


How would this be any different than being in business with Adolf Hitler? Or Kim Jong Un? Or Pol Pot? Pick your dictator…


When we met to discuss our proposal a couple of months ago, I asked McDonald’s investor relations people to confirm that the company has at least two restaurants in Xinjiang, where the Uyghurs are enslaved and tortured.


They still haven’t answered me.


The bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China says it is impossible for companies to conduct legitimate and accurate audits of operations, to determine whether or not slave labor is embedded in their supply chains.


Members of the commission plan to demand the SEC require more specific risk disclosures from corporations on the issue.


So be prepared, McDonald’s.


Please vote FOR Proposal 9.

Read NLPC’s shareholder proposal for McDonald’s Corporation’s 2023 annual meeting here.

Read NLPC’s proxy memorandum filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission here.




Tags: China, human rights, McDonald's, shareholder activism, slavery, Uyghurs, Xinjiang