China wants everyone to be silent, says sacked HK economist

Chinese-owned banks and shops have been targeted by angry protesters. (Reuters pic)

HONG KONG: A local Hong Kong economist said he had to leave his job at a mainland Chinese-owned bank as months of protests stoke political tension across the financial hub.

Law Ka Chung left his job as chief economist of Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) in October, with no official announcement.

The analyst said he suspects that his views are the reason that he was asked to leave the bank after more than 14 years.

He was instructed to refrain from commenting on the Chinese economy, he said.

“China just needs people to stay low profile and be quiet,” Law said in an interview today.

“They just want to silence all voices, be it researchers, students or media.”

Pro-democracy protests have rocked the city for almost six months, stirring tension across workplaces in the former British colony, with bankers often caught in the midst.

Chinese-owned banks and shops have been targeted by angry protesters.

Local Hong Kong citizens and those emigrated from mainland China often clash online and in real life.

BoCom wasn’t immediately able to comment. Law’s departure was earlier reported by Apple Daily.

Law said he has felt pressure since as early as 2014, when the so-called Umbrella Movement started.

Friends and other analysts are now indicating that pressure to keep comments guarded is spreading to local and foreign banks as well, he said.

Law said the bank outlined his compensation stretching into next year just two months before he was asked to resign.

He left behind him a team of mainly local Hong Kongers.

“I have little contact with them after I left,” he said. “I wish them good luck.”