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"I Feel So Scared": Why Crewmembers Of Hong Kong's Biggest Airline Are Terrified Of China

DATE POSTED:August 23, 2019

Roughly a week to the day that pressure from Beijing forced out the CEO Of Cathay Pacific airlines and one of his deputies (both "quit" under pressure from Beijing's airline regulator and mainland companies aligned with the CPC), the Washington Post published a long-winded story based off of interviews with more than a dozen employees of the iconic airline, which has for so long been closely associated with Hong Kong and its culture.

In its report, WaPo confirms that employees of the airline feel trapped in a "climate of fear and mistrust" as Communist functionaries increasingly subject flight crews to searches and seizure to root out anybody who has openly, or privately, expressed support for the #antiELAB protests that began nearly three months ago.

Crews have resorted to stashing their smartphones in service carts and other ploys to avoid being searched and having the contents of their phones downloaded.

Already, several employees and at least three pilots have left the airline over their purported support for the protests (a sign that Beijing isn't only interested in purging upper management).

Indeed, Cathay employees suspect they are being 'singled out' because of their company's status.

As the Chinese state zeroes in on individuals suspected of supporting ongoing protests against Beijing’s influence in Hong Kong, it has singled out Cathay Pacific, the flagship Hong Kong airline that is among the city’s biggest employers and most globally recognized brands, subjecting its staff to unprecedented scrutiny.

"We are panicked," said one flight attendant who has worked for the airline for seven years.

[...]

"I feel so scared, like we have lost our ability to voice our opinions, our concerns and our hopes without feeling the authority of China," said another flight attendant, age 26.

The impact that the protests have had on Cathay, ostensibly a developed, multinational corporation, has raised questions about whether HK can maintain any sort of autonomy long-term under the "one country, two systems" doctrine that had allowed it a fair amount of autonomy until not that long ago. The first inklings came during the umbrella movement in 2014. Now, the extradition bill protests - which have morphed into a broader pro-democracy movement - have become the system's first major test.

If it fails, HK's economy could be in serious jeopardy, as Kyle Bass explained might happen in a research report from earlier this year.

In a series of tweets sent Thursday morning, Bass warned that pro-Beijing lawmakers had been subtly hinting that a massive crackdown would result if the protests lasted another week and a half.

china daily @ChinaDaily shows a video of the ccp thugs staging violence in a Hong Kong train station. Fascinating how the “police” are absent and the thugs were whisked away on the train. Pooh and piglet are scheming to bring in the PAP and the PLA from Shenzhen before Oct 1st. https://t.co/K1ln4xAIdy

— Kyle Bass (@Jkylebass) August 22, 2019

We saw a senior pro-beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong give the protestors “10 days” yesterday. He then said that these protests cannot last going into the 70th anniversary of the communist party in china....which is October 1st. #antiELAB #HKexit

— Kyle Bass (@Jkylebass) August 22, 2019

And he's probably got a point: Under no circumstances will Beijing allow this movement to endure through the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule on Oct. 1.