The reaction from China was swift, and predictable. As with other brands deemed to have hurt China’s national pride, there were strongly worded condemnations and widespread calls for a boycott—Nike, Dolce & Gabbana, Mercedes Benz, and Samsung are just a handful of examples of foreign companies that have also been pilloried for not toeing China’s ideological line. And given China’s lucrative market, brands almost always back down with a contrite apology.

In a Facebook post, Hong Kong’s former chief executive Leung Chun-ying condemned Pocari Sweat (link in Chinese) for “not knowing black from white” and called for a nationwide boycott of the drink. Some Chinese internet users were enraged, too, with one person on social network Weibo decrying Pocari Sweat as “pro-Hong Kong independence trash” (link in Chinese) and urging a boycott. A Chinese female idol group, GNZ48, announced on its Weibo account (link in Chinese) that it was “very regretful” of Pocari Sweat’s decision and that it would immediately cease any partnerships with the company. Meanwhile, the Global Times, China’s nationalistic state tabloid, published an article with the headline, “Pocari Sweat urged not to take wrong stance on Hong Kong.”

TVB released a statement yesterday (link in Chinese) clarifying that a statement attributed to it and circulating online, in which it is quoted as slamming Pocari Sweat for “bowing to violence,” was a hoax. TVB did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Quartz.

Other Hong Kong companies have also announced their decisions to pull advertisements from TVB, according to the South China Morning Post, including a local condom manufacturer and the local branch of a US insurance company.

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