On Friday, Beijing revealed a new strategy to sanction people and companies that participate in protests: “Beijing has ordered Cathay Pacific to stop aircrew who joined or supported illegal anti-government protests in Hong Kong from operating flights to mainland China or using Chinese airspace, firing its first warning shot at the city’s corporate giants,” reports the South China Morning Post.
In a statement [in Chinese] issued on Friday night, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) told Hong Kong’s flagship carrier that from Saturday, staff who had taken part in “illegal protests,” “violent actions” and “overly radical activities” in the city would not be allowed to fly to or from the mainland.
The regulator also made it clear that from Sunday the airline would have to submit identification details of all aircrew operating all services using mainland airspace.
Flights that did not have CAAC-approved crew lists would not be allowed to use Chinese airspace, it said.
That rules out pretty much every westbound flight for crew who get blacklisted.
Other developments in Hong Kong:
BLAMING FOREIGN “BLACK HANDS”
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: For the sixth consecutive day, Party paper the People’s Daily has a front-page opinion piece (in Chinese) about Hong Kong in tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper, titled “The interference of foreign forces is a disaster for Hong Kong society.”
The piece is both an indication of the levels of alarm in Beijing, and a doubling down on the Party’s favorite explanation for the protests: foreign “black hands” (黑手 hēishǒu) working behind the scenes. For more on this, see yesterday’s newsletter, or the following updates:
- “China’s escalating claims of covert U.S. interference in Hong Kong are not so much warnings at Washington but classic United Front tactics aimed at HK and domestic audiences analysts say,” tweeted reporter Gerry Shih about his article China leaks U.S. diplomat’s personal information in Hong Kong as protesters flood into airport in the Washington Post.
- “China on Friday hit back at the United States, accusing Washington of applying ‘gangster logic’ after an official described Beijing as a ‘thuggish regime,’ for leaking the personal details of a Hong Kong–based U.S. diplomat to a pro-Beijing newspaper,” reports the South China Morning Post. “Gangster logic,” per the People’s Daily, is 强盗逻辑 qiángdào luójí.
- “The Auckland office of China’s Consulate General has lodged a stern warning to New Zealand and other foreign nations against turning Hong Kong into a pawn to curb China,” according to the New Zealand Herald.
SQUEEZING TAIWAN FILM AWARDS AND HONG KONG ACTORS
Following Beijing’s boycott of Taiwan’s Golden Horse Film Awards, organizers of the Golden Rooster Awards, China’s equivalent of the Golden Horse Awards, announced that this year’s event will be held in Xiamen, a city on the mainland side of the Taiwan Strait, on November 19–23, clashing with the Golden Horse Awards ceremony on November 23. The South China Morning Post reports:
The boycott has created a dilemma for Hong Kong filmmakers and stars, who must now make a choice between competing for a Golden Horse or a Golden Rooster — and face the political and commercial ramifications.
Taiwanese news website Line Today reported that Hong Kong film production companies had been warned by Beijing that films can’t go on release in China if they apply for the Golden Horse Awards. Hong Kong stars who attended the event would be put on a watch list, it quoted Beijing as telling them.
CHINESE CITIZEN REACTIONS
“Although discussions on the Hong Kong protests were initially silenced on Chinese social media, the demonstrations are now trending all over Weibo,” according to What’s on Weibo. State media is “propagating hashtags and illustrations in favor of Hong Kong government and in support of the Hong Kong Police Force,” which Chinese internet users are enthusiastically sharing.