This should do much to improve business confidence in Hong Kong as a transparent, law-governed, international financial center:
The forced public kowtow by Cathay Pacific and parent Swire Group is punishment for the airline’s nonchalance over its employees’ involvement in Hong Kong’s protest movement. […]
- Group chairman Merlin Swire was summoned to Beijing and ordered to fire Cathay’s top two senior managers.
- For additional humiliation, the news was broken by state CCTV before the company had a chance to make an announcement.
- The share price plummeted (sending a message that China could ruin stockholders and perhaps enable second-largest owner state-owned Air China to buy up the remains).
- The SCMP quotes a source as saying “Merlin had to save [ritually dismember] Cathay to save Swire.” Swire’s Mainland interests include property, Coca-Cola bottling and much more. The great and ancient hong had zero choice.
- Top executives Rupert Hogg and Paul Loo have been banished from the Swire Group as a whole. Anyone else who hires them in future will be defying the Wrath of the Panda and will, in Beijing’s eyes, be ‘hostile to China’.
- Hastily appointed replacement CEO Augustus Tang, the SCMP implies, has been chosen for his ethnicity, as a further sign of submission to the Han emperor.
Fascinating to see the iron fist poking through the velvet glove.