Protesters hold a “Stand With Hong Kong, Power to the People Rally” at the Chater Garden in Hong Kong to demand democracy and government accountability.
Cathay Pacific Airways CEO Rupert Hogg shocked everyone by announcing his resignation on Friday, amid mounting Chinese control of the Hong Kong carrier over the involvement of its employees in the city’s anti-government protests.
Hogg’s sudden departure signals mounting pressure on the corporate sector in the former British colony to align with Beijing.
The airline named Augustus Tang as its new CEO, who is the head of the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company, which like Cathay is managed by Swire Pacific Ltd.
Paul Loo also resigned as chief customer and commercial officer said the airline.
Cathay’s chairman John Slosar said the recent events had called into question the airline’s commitment to flight safety and security and had put its reputation and brand under pressure.
“This is regrettable as we have always made safety and security our highest priority,” he said in a statement. “We therefore think it is time to put a new management team in place who can reset confidence and lead the airline to new heights.”
Cathay emerged as the highest-profile corporate target as Chinese authorities look to quell protests that started in the former British colony ten weeks ago.
The protests started in April and involve a direct challenge to Beijing’s rule over the former British colony.
Protesters are calling the demonstrations an “era of revolution,” which infuriates a ruling Chinese Communist Party determined to crush any challenge to its monopoly on power.
Young activists concerned about the one-country, two-systems agreement
Under the “one-country, two-systems” formula, China promised Hong Kong it would enjoy autonomy for 50 years after its handover from Britain in 1997.
But for young protesters born after the handover that deadline will fall in the middle of their lives. And, as Beijing tightens its grip on Hong Kong, the future they see approaching is that of an authoritarian mainland China with curbs on the freedoms and rights they now enjoy.
“In 2047, if it returns to China, real Hong Kongers will leave and emigrate from Hong Kong,” said Ah Lung, a protester told Reuters.
“By then, it won’t be Hong Kong anymore, but Xiang Gang,” he said, referring to the name commonly used on the mainland for Hong Kong.