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Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Crews Are Concerned About Harassment

Cathay Pacific Crews Are Concerned About Harassment
Joe Cortez

As protests escalate in Hong Kong, employees of Cathay Pacific are growing even more concerned that they may become targets of the Chinese government. Employees of the company say they endured detailed inspections by Chinese authorities, which include airframe worthiness and personal cell phones.

If you are aboard a Cathay Pacific flight, the protests in Hong Kong are on everybody’s mind. But if you are a company employee working that flight, your mind may be worried about how you will be received upon entry to China. The Washington Post reports flight attendants are under tighter scrutiny from Chinese officials due to the continued protesting.

Since the civil uprising began, Cathay Pacific has felt incredible pressure to stay out of the disturbances. In addition to firing employees who allegedly participate in protests, the concerns caused the ouster of airline chief executive Rupert Hogg and chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo. But the level of control China is exerting over the carrier is starting to worry employees.

According to flight attendants speaking to the Washington Post under anonymity, Cathay Pacific flights landing in China are subject to additional search and inspection. Some claim officials will inspect personal cell phones, leading them to hide devices prior to landing. In addition, airworthiness searches have increased, with employees suspecting it is an attempt to delay flights.

Even more worrisome is the threat of showing up on a Telegram channel identifying protest members. Pictures and social media accounts of alleged protesters and Hong Kong supporters are uploaded to the social media site, with the threat of assets turning over to the Chinese Ministry of State Security. While the channel first had a broad focus, it has lately focused on airline employees.

Since the protests began, Cathay Pacific has sent out multiple warnings to employees not to participate. Chinese aviation authorities also gave the airline a warning over a “major aviation safety risk.” With the additional scrutiny, flight attendants believe the airline is abandoning them and their civil rights.

“We don’t think what the company is doing is supporting or protecting us,” one anonymous flight attendant told the Washington Post. “We think our personal safety is in danger.”

In a press statement issued on August 18, 2019, the carrier reiterated their stance on the protests. “We resolutely support the Hong Kong SAR Government, the Chief Executive and the Police in their efforts to restore law and order,” the statement read. “We condemn all illegal activities and violent behavior, which seriously undermine the fundamental principle of “One Country Two Systems” as enshrined in the Basic Law.”

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