upert Hogg, former CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, is being widely hailed as a hero for refusing China’s request he provide them with the names of all Cathay Pacific employees that took part in the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
China, which is the second largest shareholder of Cathay through state-owned Air China Ltd, also ordered Hogg to suspend these employees from work.
Hogg responded. He provided Beijing with a list that only had one name on it — his own.
Hogg then resigned on Aug. 16 rather than betray his employees and endanger their safety, according to reports.
Oddly, news of Hogg’s resignation was first made public by China’s state-controlled media outlets. CCTV broke news of Hogg’s resignation at 4:50 p.m. on Aug. 16. Cathay Pacific officially announced Hogg’s departure 30 minutes later.
China seems to be floating the story it had Hogg fired to tamp-down on the widespread support Hogg is getting for his courageous decision to resign.
On the other hand, Hong Kong media stories concur Hogg was asked to hand over a list of Cathay employees. Hogg responded by providing his own name.
Hogg’s heroic defiance prompted many Hong Kong netizens to praise him with comments.
Wang Ting-yu, a Member of Parliament from the Republic of China (Taiwan) wrote Hogg’s selfless act reminded him of Taiwanese lawyer Tang Te-chang in Tainan. During the February 28 Incident in 1947, Tang burned a list of names of people on the Settlement Committee saving many lives.
Wang wrote that, like Tang, Hogg chose to sacrifice himself to save others.
On a Facebook post Sunday, “True warriors show the noblest glory of human nature when facing great decisions,” Wang wrote this tribute to Hogg:
“He took responsibility for the strike and resigned!
He didn’t sell out any Cathay Pacific employees!
He took responsibility himself!
Please remember the name of this gentleman.
Mr. Rupert Hogg!
I salute you!”
On Aug. 9, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said Cathay crew who engaged in the protests pose a threat to aviation safety in mainland China, and ordered Cathay to provide it with their names.
Asked about this two days later, Cathay chairman John Slosar said the airline respects its staff’s opinions.
“We certainly wouldn’t dream of telling them what they have to think about something. They’re all adults, they’re all service professionals. We respect them greatly,” he said.