China condemns US House approval of bill on Hong Kong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF COMMUNIST CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

China condemns US House approval of bill on Hong Kong: spokesperson

Xinhua

China on Wednesday expressed strong indignation and firm opposition to the US House of Representatives’ passing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a press statement.

What Hong Kong faces at present is not the so-called human rights and democracy issues, but the issue of ending violence and chaos, restoring order and upholding the rule of law as soon as possible, spokesperson Geng Shuang said in the statement.

By neglecting the truth and turning white to black, the US House of Representatives called arson, smashing of shops, and violently assaulting police officers as human rights and freedom, which is a stark double standard that fully exposes some Americans’ extreme hypocrisy on human rights and democracy and their malicious intentions to damage the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and contain China’s development, Geng said.

The United States also has important interests in Hong Kong, he said.

“Should the act eventually come into law, it will not only harm the interests of China and the China-US relations, but also severely undermine the interests of the United States,” Geng said.

China will definitely take forceful countermeasures against the wrong decision of the US side in order to firmly safeguard its own sovereignty, security and development interests, the spokesperson said.

“Hong Kong belongs to China and its affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs that brook no foreign interference,” he reiterated.

“We advise the US side to get a clear understanding of the situation, rein in on the brink of the precipice immediately, and cease to promote the subsequent deliberation of the act and interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs immediately,” Geng said.

get the US nowhere

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region expressed strong indignation over some US politicians’ actions of passing Hong Kong-related bills at the US House, warning that playing Hong Kong as a card will get the United States nowhere.

Some US politicians have kept bent on passing Hong Kong-related bills including the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019,” ignoring the facts and confounding right with wrong. By doing so, they have openly endorsed anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong, tested the red line of the “one country, two systems” principle, grossly interfered with Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs as a whole, and trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations, the commissioner’s office said in a statement.

“We express strong indignation over and condemn such actions, which have again exposed the politicians’ gangster logic and hegemonic mindset,” it said.

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

 

Countries With the Most Billionaires

The world is home to about 2,754 billionaires who together control $9.2 trillion in wealth, according to the 2018 Billionaire Census, compiled annually by Wealth-X.

While billionaires are spread out all over the globe, that wealth is concentrated in a small handful of countries. As it turns out, 40 percent of the world’s billionaires reside in the countries below.

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10. United Arab Emirates

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The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is an oil-rich Arab nation on the Persian Gulf. It’s also home to 62 billionaires who together have a total wealth of $168 billion.

Dubai, the capital city, is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to architectural wonders like the Burj Khalifa — which is currently the tallest building in the world. Dubai is also home to 65 percent of the nation’s billionaires, according to Wealth-X data.

9. Saudi Arabia

Credit: jamjoom / iStock

Saudi Arabia is a mecca for billionaires, literally and figuratively. The country ties its neighbor for the total number of billionaires with 62, but it’s got the UAE beat in terms of shared wealth. Saudi billionaires hold a total of $169 billion, $1 billion more than their Emirati counterparts.

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East, thanks to the more than 266,000 barrels of untapped oil lying beneath its desert sands. The nation exports more oil than any other country, and the size of its reserve is second only to Venezuela.

8. United Kingdom

Credit: Daniel Lange / iStock

The United Kingdom is home to 90 billionaires at last count, who together hold $251 billion.

You might be surprised to learn that Queen Elizabeth II isn’t among them; she’s worth only half a billion. The U.K. billionaire club includes a diverse list of business people such as steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal ($18.9 billion), bagless vacuum inventor Sir James Dyson and family ($12.3 billion), and Virgin Atlantic founder and space cowboy Richard Branson ($4.1 billion).

But you’ve probably never heard of the U.K’s richest man: Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of London-based chemical manufacturer Ineos. Ratliffe is entirely self-made, mortgaging his house to buy his first chemical assets.

7. Hong Kong

Credit: Nikada / iStock

We know, we know. Hong Kong isn’t really a country, per se. It is a semi-autonomous region of China. But its high concentration of billionaires makes it worthy of distinction. The city-state has a total of 93 billionaires worth a combined $315 billion.

In terms of billionaire cities, Hong Kong is ranked second, nestled between New York (#1) and San Francisco (#3). Hong Kong owes its wealth to more than a century of British rule, which came to an end in 1997. Possessing one of the world’s busiest shipping ports, Hong Kong became a manufacturing powerhouse.

The country’s richest person is 90-year-old entrepreneur Li Ka-shing. A high school dropout, Li made his fortune in plastic manufacturing, port development, and retail.

6. Russia

Credit: Mordolff / iStock

Russia is home to 96 billionaires worth a combined $351 billion. That number doesn’t include the net worth of President Vladimir Putin, who is rumored to be the world’s richest man with $200 billion in secret assets. But according to documents filed with the Russian election commission, Putin only claims to earn an average annual salary of $112,000.

Officially, Russia’s richest man is Leonid Mikhelson at $23.6 billion. Mikhelson is CEO of Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas company. He’s among the politically powerful Russian oligarchs who rose to power after rapidly gobbling up assets when Russia’s state-owned companies went private.

5. Switzerland

Credit: AleksandarGeorgiev / iStock

Switzerland has 99 billionaires worth a total of $265 billion. That’s a high concentration of billionaires for such a small country, and once a year it gets even more concentrated. CEOs and heads of state from all over the world descend upon the snowy ski-town of Davos at the beginning every year for the World Economic Forum.

Many Swiss billionaires owe their riches to the banking and financial industry. Provided the country’s neutral status during both World Wars, and its centuries-long tradition of secrecy, Swiss banks became a global favorite. In 2018 it was estimated that Swiss banks held $6.5 trillion in assets, which is a quarter of all global cross-border assets.

4. India

Credit: Leonid Andronov / iStock

India is a country of extremes. About 58 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, surviving off less than $3.10 a day. It is also home to one of the fastest-growing economies and 104 billionaires in total. Together India’s billionaires are worth $299 billion.

The country’s richest man is Mukesh Ambani, who is worth an estimated $49.6 billion. He owns 43 percent of Reliance Industries, which owns a little bit of everything: energy, oil, textiles, retail stores and telecom. Ambani also owns a professional cricket team, the Mumbai Indians.

3. Germany

Credit: bkindler / iStock

With 152 in total, you might be asking why Germany has so many billionaires. The answer is cars, machines, chemicals, electronics and groceries.

As it turns out, that “Germany engineering” you always hear about is a real thing, and it’s worth a lot of money. German billionaires control a total of $466 billion in assets, much of it earned from industrial and chemical manufacturing companies.

But the country’s richest person is Dieter Schwarz, whose company owns Europe’s largest supermarket chains, Lidl and Kaufland. At 79, Schwarz is worth a whopping $24.9 billion.

2. China

Credit: bjdlzx / iStock

At 338, China is home to 12 percent of the world’s billionaires who together possess $1 trillion in total wealth. Deng Xiaoping, who served as leader from 1978 to 1989, paved the way for the country’s growth by drastically reforming the economy. Flash forward to today where China generates a new billionaire every two days, according to UBS. The richest among them is Alibaba founder Jack Ma, with a net worth of $40.1 billion.

1. The United States

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

The United States is far and away the leader when it comes to billionaires with a total of 680. That is 25 percent of all billionaires in the world. U.S. billionaires have more than $3.16 trillion in assets combined.

America’s four richest billionaires are household names: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($120 billion), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($95.5 billion), investing genius Warren Buffett ($82.5 billion) and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg ($65.9 billion).

 

 

China suspends ties with Rockets after GM shows support for Hong Kong protests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Chinese businesses suspend ties with Rockets after GM shows support for Hong Kong protests

CGTN

The general manager of the NBA Houston Rockets team, Daryl Morey has embroiled himself into trouble due to his tweet on last Friday supporting Hong Kong’s protests. Some Chinese companies stated their actions even before officials.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card Center was the first to speak out, saying on Sunday that it “opposes and protests against” Morey’s “erroneous” remarks and has suspended all marketing and publicity activities related to the Rockets.

Following the bank, sports brand Li Ning denounced the post and said it had stopped all forms of cooperation with the Rockets. Meanwhile, Shanghai Jiayin Finance Technology notified the Rockets that all partnerships between the two sides have been halted.

Tencent Sports, which signed a five-year, 1.5-billion-U.S.-dollar deal with the NBA in July, announced that all live streaming and news reporting of the Rockets will be suspended. It also gave customers, who bought a subscription to watch the Rockets games online, a chance to opt for another team.

Starbuck’s China rival Luckin Coffee and smartphone maker Vivo also announced they would suspend cooperation with the NBA on Tuesday.

A small tweet can bring big trouble

Morey’s tweet, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” was quickly deleted last Friday, but not before it generated huge controversy in China. China’s consulate general in Houston urged the team to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes” in a statement last Sunday. Beijing repeatedly said that some protesters in Hong Kong were mobs and rioters, instead of the so-called “peaceful pro-democracy protesters” described by the Western media.

But, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Tuesday on how NBA will not “put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues,” concerning Morey’s improper remarks.

On the same day, the China Central Television (CCTV) Sports channel of China Media Group (CMG) announced that it will suspend the NBA broadcasting because Silver supported improper remarks. Before that, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) had already announced the termination of cooperation with Houston Rockets.

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in China. Here are some facts and figures showing how vital China and its 500-million-fan base is to the NBA:

The NBA has had a presence in China for almost three decades. It now has relationships with a number of television and digital media outlets throughout China, including a long-standing partnership with CCTV.

The Houston Rockets is widely followed especially in China. That’s because the franchise drafted Chinese player Yao Ming in 2002. The eight-time NBA All-Star was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

NBA China was launched in 2008. Seventeen NBA teams have played 26 games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei in the past five years. NBA China alone is now worth over 4 billion U.S. dollars, according to Forbes.

Hong Kong’s Leader Warns ‘No Options Ruled Out’ If Protests Continue

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Hong Kong’s Leader Warns ‘No Options Ruled Out’ If Protests Continue

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she still believes that the people of Hong Kong “should find solutions ourselves.”

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s leader has issued a veiled warning that Beijing could intervene with force to quell the territory’s violent anti-government protests, but after months of unrest, she said she still believes “we should find solutions ourselves.”

Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke at a news conference on Tuesday days after invoking a colonial-era law to prohibit the wearing of face masks during protests, which are now in their 18th week. She said she has no plans to enact further emergency powers despite “limitless and lawless” acts of violence by demonstrators over the weekend.

“I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves,” Lam said.

“That is also the position of the central government that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own but if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” she said.

Thousands of Chinese troops are stationed throughout Hong Kong but so far have not left their barracks, allowing instead the territory’s police to put down the protests.

Although Lam’s statement on Tuesday is the closest she’s come in the weeks of protest to a direct warning about the possibility China could use force to restore order, a spokesman for Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council has been less reticent. In August, Yang Guang issued a stark admonishment, saying China has “tremendous power” to put down the protests and that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”

Most of the protesters have worn masks as a way to hide their identities from video surveillance cameras. Although the protesters appear to have almost universally ignored the anti-mask law put in place on Friday, Lam said it was too early to gauge whether the law would work.

“For any new … legislation, it would take time for it to be effectively implemented,” she said.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China 22 years ago on a promise of “one country, two systems” that was to have granted it substantial control over its own affairs. However, protesters have accused Beijing of reneging on those promises.

The protests, which began peacefully in June, have increasingly become violent, with pro-democracy activists clashing with police, who have responded with tear gas and batons. One week ago, an officer shot and seriously wounded a protester.

The demonstrations began ostensibly as a protest against a law that would have allowed some in Hong Kong accused of crimes to be extradited to mainland China to face justice there. Although the controversial extradition bill has since been scrapped, the demands of the mostly student-led movement have expanded to include a freely elected legislature and the right to choose a replacement for Lam, who was appointed by Beijing. They are also demanding an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality in their handling of the protests.

The economy of Hong Kong, a vital international financial hub, has taken a beating during the months of protests, which have been exacerbated by the U.S.-China trade war.

CNN reported last week that during a private phone call in June between China’s President Xi Jinping and President Trump, Trump had promised his administration would stay silent on the situation in Hong Kong as long as trade talks continued.

On Monday, however, Trump urged Xi to ensure a “humane solution” in the territory.

“If anything happened bad, I think that would be a very bad thing for the negotiation[s],” Trump said. “I think politically it would be very tough, maybe for us and maybe for some others and maybe for [Xi].”

Hong Kong’s chief executive vows greatest resolve to end violence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

HKSAR chief executive vows greatest resolve to end violence

Xinhua

Chief Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said Saturday that the government will take the greatest resolve to end violence, after rampant rioters Friday wreaked havoc in various areas of Hong Kong.

Lam said in a video address that Hong Kong witnessed “a very dark night” on Friday and the society was half-paralyzed, describing the extreme acts as “unprecedented and appalling.”

Violent and disruptive acts were staged again in Hong Kong on Friday as masked rioters blocked roads, set fires, damaged public facilities, and assaulted police officers and passersby, leaving the transport network paralyzed and forcing numerous shops to close.

“The extreme violence is a clear indication of the widespread danger to public security in Hong Kong,” Lam said.

Given the escalating violence recently, the HKSAR government has invoked the power under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance and put in place the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation. The anti-mask law, designed to end violence and restore order, came into effect on Saturday, Lam said.

The move has received support from 40 Legislative Council members and many chambers of commerce, media outlets and social organizations, she said.

Lam reiterated the legality of the action and said the HKSAR government adopted appropriate measures using the power conferred by the existing law.

Lam urged foreign officials and lawmakers to understand the nature of the violent incidents. “Hong Kong is facing unprecedented violence and the government needs to adopt resolute legal measures to stop violence, restore peace and order, and protect the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents from the threats of rioters.” She said anti-mask legislations were also adopted in a number of Western countries.

Lam also called on Hong Kong residents to support the HKSAR government in stopping the violence, make a clean break with rioters, and work together to bring back peaceful lives as soon as possible.

China urges US to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)
(HOW ABOUT: WORLD URGES CHINA TO IMMEDIATELY STOP INTERFERING IN HONG KONG’S AND TAIWAN’S AFFAIRS)(oldpoet56)

China urges US to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs

Xinhua

China on Thursday strongly urged the US side to respect China’s sovereignty and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang made the remarks in response to reports that US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference on Wednesday with House members as well as Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Denise Ho to back the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes this move,” Geng said at a press briefing, accusing Pelosi and other US politicians of confusing right from wrong, engaging with Hong Kong separatists and grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Geng reiterated the position that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and brook no interference from any outside forces.

“We strongly urge the US side to abide by international laws and basic norms governing international relations, respect China’s sovereignty, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any form and advancing the Hong Kong-related act,” Geng said.

He also called on the United States to stop backing the violent and radical forces as well as Hong Kong separatists and desist from supporting any moves undermining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

China firmly opposes German FM’s meeting with HK Separatist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

China firmly opposes German FM’s meeting with HK separatist: spokesperson

Xinhua

China on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to Germany over its allowing a Hong Kong separatist to enter the country to engage in anti-China separatist activities and its foreign minister’s contact with him there.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks at a press briefing when responding to media reports that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has welcomed the bail granted to Hong Kong separatist Joshua Wong Chi-fung who is the leader of a Hong Kong political group advocating the so-called “independence” and met with him on Monday evening in Berlin.

“China has lodged stern representations with the German side,” Hua said.

Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, and no foreign government, organization or individual has the right to interfere, Hua said. “Any words, acts or plots that attempt to build oneself up by pulling in foreign forces and to split the country are doomed to failure.”

It is also extremely wrong for some German media outlets and politicians to grab a share of limelight to “put on political shows” using anti-China separatists, she said. “This constitutes disrespect for China’s sovereignty and interference with China’s internal affairs.”

During her visit to China last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed clearly her support to the “one country, two systems” principle and opposition to violence, Hua said. “We cannot help but ask what is the purpose of Germany allowing Wong to visit the country at this time and meet with Maas.”

“We urge the German side to keep its promises and avoid sending wrong signals to Hong Kong radical separatists,” Hua said.

Hua also urged Maas as the German foreign minister to abide by international laws and basic norms governing international relations and contribute to rather than undermine the development of China-Germany ties.

Man charged with insulting (Burning) National Flag, denied bail in Hong Kong

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Man charged with insulting national flag, denied bail in Hong Kong

Xinhua

A man arrested for arson and burning a Chinese national flag during last weekend’s protests near the Hong Kong International Airport appeared in court on Saturday and was denied bail.

The 22-year-old man was arrested for setting a Chinese national flag, banners, water-filled barriers and other objects on fire during protests in Tung Chung on September 1.

Charged with criminal damage, conspiracy to desecrate the national flag, conspiracy to commit arson and arson, the man appeared in court at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Saturday morning.

The case was adjourned to November 15, pending further investigation, including the examination of the retractable batons and suspected air guns seized at the scene, as well as CCTV footage and the defendant’s public transport card records.

Due to the seriousness of the case, the defendant was denied bail and remanded in custody.

China version: 63 arrested over riots in Hong Kong on Saturday

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

63 arrested over riots in Hong Kong on Saturday

Xinhua

Hong Kong police said on Sunday that 63 people had been arrested during the riots on Saturday.

According to the police, 54 men and nine women, aged between 13 and 36, were arrested for offences including criminal damage, possession of explosives and offensive weapons, and unlawful assembly.

Speaking here at a press conference, Acting Senior Superintendent Tsui Suk-yee of Kowloon West Regional (Crime) said that during the arrest operations, the police seized evidences including petrol bombs, gas masks, laser guns, steel balls, armors, helmets and umbrellas.

According to Tsui, two petrol bombs and lighters were found among the belongings of a 13-year-old suspect. A batch of petrol bombs were also seized by police on the platform of Prince Edward MTR Station.

In the above-mentioned cases, suspects had posed a severe threat to public safety and social order, said Tsui.

After obtaining legal advice from the Department of Justice, some arrested suspects would be prosecuted, said Tsui, adding that the police did not rule out more arrests in coming days.

The police had rejected the application of a public procession on Hong Kong Island on Saturday to ensure the safety of residents and public order after several similar events turned extremely violent since early June.

However, protesters on Saturday defied the police ban by occupying downtown roads. During their marches, some radical protesters smashed traffic lights and dismantled roadside railings to set up barricades to confront the police.

Black-clad rioters who wore mask and helmet attempted to storm the headquarters buildings of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and the Legislative Council, using sling shots to fire petrol bombs and other objects into the buildings before they set fires on a main street near the Hong Kong police headquarters.

Rioters confronted police in various areas on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories, hurling petrol bombs in different places and attacking police officers with corrosive liquid and bricks.

They also set fires in different places, vandalized public property, set up barricades, and damaged facilities at MTR stations such as platform screen doors. The fire set up by arsonists at Hennessy Road was very fierce at one point, reaching the height of over bridge and posing serious danger to residents nearby.

Flight attendant union head fired for supporting Hong Kong protests on social media

Flight attendant union head fired for supporting Hong Kong protests on social media

Rebecca Sy. Image from inmediahk.net. Used with permission.

Airline Cathay Dragon, a subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, has fired Rebecca Sy, the chair of its flight attendant union, after she confirmed the posting of three posts on her Facebook timeline in support of Hong Kong protesters.

The taming of Cathay Pacific

The Cathay Pacific saga started on 9 August 2019 when the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) informed the airline that its staff members who had taken part in “illegal protests” and “violent actions” would be banned from China’s airspace beginning 10 August.

On 14 August, the airline fired two pilots and two ground personnel who had taken part in the recent protests. Two days later, Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg announced his resignation from the company.

On 20 August, the company reminded its employees that social media content expressing support for anti-government protests in Hong Kong could violate CAAC’s new policy. The warning not only covers public posts but also private conversations on Facebook, Telegram and other apps since these messages could be exposed through doxxing by pro-government trolls or China’s immigration checkpoints.

On the same day, lawmaker Jeremy Tam from the pro-democracy Civic Party told the press that he had resigned from Cathay Pacific to “protect the company from unreasonable attacks”. Tam had been a pilot for the air carrier for nearly two decades.

Cathay Dragon labor leader fired

Cathay Dragon fired Rebecca Sy, the chair of its Flight Attendant Union (FAU), after she confirmed that three screen captures of Facebook posts about the Hong Kong protests were from her account. Sy was still able to fly to Beijing and back to Hong Kong on 19 and 20 August. However, she was told not to work on a scheduled Hangzhou trip the following day.

FAU was one of the worker unions which participated in the 5 August general strike. Together with six other airline worker unions, the airport strike led to the cancellation of more than 200 flights. As head of the FAU, Sy has been vocal about her support of the protests.

The company said the decision to fire Sy was not related to her union activities but did not explain the reason behind her dismissal. In a statement issued on 23 August, it affirmed the company’s compliance with Chinese regulations:

We are a leading international airline with global operations and therefore we are required to comply with all applicable laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where we operate.

Sy was not the only victim of what has been described as politically-motivated dismissal. The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) said that at least 14 airline personnel had been sacked in relation to recent protests and eight of the cases were related with their online speech. The union coalition plans to stage a protest outside Cathay Pacific’s office building on 26 August.

‘White terror’

Sy described the crackdown on free speech as ‘white terror’:

This is not just about me. This is about the whole industry. This is about Hong Kong. When will this white terror end?

It is unclear how Cathay Pacific obtained the screen captures of Sy’s Facebook messages. However, in the past few weeks, Chinese immigration has started inspecting the mobile phones of travelers for images and chats related to Hong Kong protests at border checkpoints. When suspicious content is identified, the travelers would be questioned and interrogated. Although majority of the questioned travelers were not detained or arrested upon checking, it is likely that the Chinese government could use the data for other purposes.

The pressure exerted by Beijing authorities on Cathay Pacific is seen by some analysts as a warning intended for other multinational companies in Hong Kong that they have to be in compliance with China’s Hong Kong policy or else they risk being sidelined from the Chinese market.

In addition to Cathay Pacific, a number of international accounting firms have issued a warning to their personnel about social media posts and conversations supporting the protests.

Over the years, China has cultivated close relations with local business leaders by appointing them as representatives of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and giving them extra voting rights in the functional election of the legislative council and the election committee of the city’s Chief Executive.

However, the participation of professional groups and labor unions in the protests has shown how Beijing can also export other coercive measures to force the business sector to support its political goals by disciplining their workforce.

But even if the international firms do not control the political behavior of their employees, Beijing could mobilize party affiliated media outlets and online patriots to put political pressure, or to submit ‘evidence’ to corporations and force them into taking disciplinary action against their ‘errant’ employees.

If such trend continues, there are fears that Hong Kong could face a brain drain by forcing skilled professionals to leave and settle in other places where there is freedom of expression.

To read more about the anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong, visit Global Voices’ special coverage page.
Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer.

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