New Airline Launching To Celebrate The End Of Freedom In Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific was forced to take a knee to the Chinese state during 2019 protests, with its Chief Executive forced out by regulators. The airline which has been shrinking drastically due to the pandemic also took on greater state influence along with the receipt of billions in subsidies.

Now there’s a new Chinese airline forming out of Hong Kong, expected to partially launch in four weeks, with an explicit aim of celebrating – and fostering – the turn of Hong Kong away from the west and towards the Chinese Communist Party.

That’s because “China wants to keep Hong Kong. They just want to get rid of the Hongkongers” through its National Security Law and crackdown on democracy (and LGBT rights) in the city.

Greater Bay Airlines plans to make its inaugural flight – a charter to Beijing – on October 1, the 72nd anniversary of the Communist Party takeover of China. Here’s how the airline introduces its purpose,

Greater Bay Airlines was established in response to the Central Government’s national strategy for developing the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the integration of Hong Kong into Chinese Mainland’s overall development.

Founded by Bill Wong, an investor with property interests in Hong Kong but stakes in businesses largely in the mainland especially nearby Shenzhen, Greater Bay Airlines will be a low cost carrier operating Boeing 737-800s. His Donghai Airlines operates Boeing 737-800s as well.

The bet for Greater Bay Airlines – and President Xi Jinping – is that Hong Kong’s future is in turning inward, integrating into southern China and the “Greater Bay Area” of Hong Kong, Macau and major cities in Guangdong. They’ll fill finance positions from the mainland, and make Hong Kong a Chinese rather than world city.

To me this is truly depressing. My formative years saw David Hasselhoff singing “Looking for Freedom” atop the Berlin Wall (1989) and Scorpions singing “Winds of Change” (1991) as the Soviet Union prepared to fall. It was an optimistic time filled with hope for the future of people around the world who would be able to write their own destinies as they saw fit, and a time when it seemed the U.S. itself might even be inspired by it.

Frank Fukuyama wrote about “The End of History” first as an article (1989) and then a book (1992) speculating that we had reached a point of victory for humanity where liberal democracy had triumphed for good.

Yet 1989 wasn’t entirely triumphant. It’s been 32 years since ‘Tank Man’ stood athwart the People’s Liberation Army of China, in what seemed like an historical moment for that nation. We’ve seen much economic liberalization yet personal liberty has remained restricted.

Looking back the hopefulness of this era seems so naive. In both security policy and economics we’ve forgotten which direction traffic flowed over the Berlin Wall. Tell me you can watch this from summer 2019 – while Hongkongers sought to hang onto their grasp on freedom – without tearing up?

“Do You hear the people sing,” by the way, is banned in China.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Nice post, Gary. Have great memories of HK, both under UK rule and “self rule” . Thinking my trips from here on will be just memories. Very sad.

  2. Well the so-called free world allowed it to happen. Only a matter of time before China decides to invade Taiwan. Does anyone seriously think Biden is going to go to war of Taiwan? We sure as hell know Trump was never going to do anything about it. As the US continues to struggle with covid and China doesn’t it wouldn’t shock me if China made a move. I don’t think the rest of the world cares enough about Taiwan, and Biden having just got out of Afghanistan is probably reluctant to start another war.

  3. The older generation in HK will tell you the truth about life under British rule. Chinese locals were second class citizens until very near the handover. While it’s sad to see what’s happening in HK let’s be real about history. The west didn’t give a crap about human rights of locals until they knew they were going to lose the golden goose. Then what? It’s all talk, the US and Europe enabled the CCP and still does as long as they get cheap imports.

  4. How can you be so sure that people in Hong Kong won’t enjoy Chinese communist rule in the future? If you look up Hong Kong in the early 1900s, Hong Kong was full of anti British sentiments. Pretty sure in another 100 years no one will even remember the British was ever here.

  5. Mon this has nothing to do with history now that is more than two decades and in some cases much more. This has nothing to do with UK policy or US policy. This is about THE HONG KONG PEOPLE. Stop gaslighting with vague generalities about others supposedly not caring in the past as though that somehow justifies surveillance and arrests now, crackdowns on journalists and artists, banning political candidates today.

    And since this airline got a decent amoint of coverage last month when it was announced I thought I should point out its ‘purpose’ which I had not seen on other blogs.

  6. Hong Kong was my first international trip as a young boy back in 1979, holds a special spot in my heart, and have enjoyed many visits since.

    Lets hope we can continue to visit, no differently to visiting mainland China, and enjoy the culture, and natural, and man made beauty Hong Kong has to offer.

  7. Well said, Gary. We missed our shot at averting this via leveraging regional influence and partnerships like the TPP; now we’re out of time and have to watch the vise close. Terribly demoralizing.

  8. “It’s sad to see an authoritarian government tightening its control on people’s freedoms.”
    In Hong Kong or the U.S.?

  9. Gary, learn how HK became what it is/was.
    Where is the cry about taking away freedom when the UK took over HK and Territory?
    Kinda hypocritical isn’t it?

  10. Or how UK used ‘Opium’ to drug up the whole country with the intend on ‘trading’ for goods.

    Then the rest of the ‘free’ world, the 8 Nations took advantage of a country and rob its people of its land and freedom?

    Where is the cry for that?

  11. @Gary – Typo: the 72nd anniversary of the Community Party takeover of China

    I assume it should be Communist Party

  12. Perhaps freedom will come to Australia at some point and I’ll be able to leave my house without getting arrested. Folks in Hong Kong seem to be a bit better off than us with their freedoms.

  13. Gary, you are a sick person.
    You think your view and America view is always the right view? Just because someone is different or have different views, they are trolls?

    Think about this, America has done more harm to this world in the last 50 years, then any country combined. Committed more human rights and war crimes than any country.

  14. It’s fascinating to see how many brainwashed and indoctrinated human bots are enabled by the commies to post on something this minor. The level of insecurity evidenced by the communist sycophants underscores how they are incapable of independent, individual thought.

    Before criticizing others, consider within the last 50 years, how many people were persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, starved, and murdered by the commie regime? Ever heard of the Cultural Revolution? The Great Leap Forward? The Great Chinese Famine? 文化大革命? 大跃进?三年大饥荒?

    Take a look inward before projecting your hate and lies outward – you might learn a thing or two.

  15. @Mon
    “The older generation in HK will tell you the truth about life under British rule. Chinese locals were second class citizens until very near the handover. While it’s sad to see what’s happening in HK let’s be real about history.”

    Seriously, I grew up in Hong Kong during the 60s and 70s, so that was way before the handover. All I know is without the British, there would have been no ICAC that rids of the corrupted way of doing business (or even getting into good schools) in Hong Kong. There would be no rules and order that the Hong Kongers are known for (as compared to people from you know where), like forming in lines for the bus or the subway.

    So yeah, I would say the British did a lot of goods to the people in Hong Kong. As for being second class citizens, in Britain if you are not the Royals or the moneyed you are second class citizens, just like in China if you are not a party member you are just a pleb. There is a reason why they conned the terms “Red 2nd generations” and “Rich 2nd generations” in China.

    Whether you are a second class Citizen or not is not just legal (yupp, the British did make the Hong Kong people “subjects” and not allowed to live there, but that is protectionism), a lot of the times your own people makes you a second class citizen and you are happy to take it up the you know where. I still remember when the communist party “sent the graduates down to the fields” to learn from the villagers in order to cover up their own bad acts! Or the ways they destroyed the lives of hundred of thousands of art performers by making them change their professions to become waiters etc.

    So everything is in perspective and you need to pull your head out of your you know where before screaming Hong Konger were second citizen under the British.

  16. @Alan
    “Or how UK used ‘Opium’ to drug up the whole country with the intend on ‘trading’ for goods.
    Then the rest of the ‘free’ world, the 8 Nations took advantage of a country and rob its people of its land and freedom?
    Where is the cry for that?”

    Absolutely, that was bad history and bad juju. Guess what, if the Qing dynasty was not full of corruption and inept rulers that would not have happened. Chinese could have followed the Japanese when they modernized their way of lives way back when. You need to look into the mirror and take responsibilities instead of just blaming others.

    Why don’t you blame the Chairman about the cultural revolutions or the Great Leap forward? Oh yeah, I forgot because they just introduced rules that you can only praise them!

  17. @Alan: Yet you have the right to criticize the US in this blog without any fear of reprisal.

    Try that one in China.

    The mistake we made with China was thinking that economic success would lead to greater freedom.

  18. Well put, Gary. Hong Kong’s loss of freedom is the worst setback for the West in a long time, and tragic for the people of Hong Kong. For many years Chinese Communism was essentially inward looking, but now it is bold and aggressive, and we have been reacting naively.

    But that era of burgeoning freedoms’ in the late 80s wasn’t really hopelessly naive. There are a number of free nations in Eastern Europe now, plus Mongolia (and even South Africa for different reasons), that were able to make a much better life for themselves.

    How do you see Cathay Pacific’s future? Time to burn miles?

  19. @Alan – “You think your view and America view is always the right view?” It’s the views of the Hongkongers that are being suppressed.

    Just look at the November 2019 legco elections, before the National Security Law was imposed.

    There was record turnout, and of 479 seats and pro-Democracy candidates captured 388 seats (with pro-Beijing parties retaining control in only one of 18 district councils because of ex officio seats granted to them). (They also nearly captured double the seats of pro-Beijing and independent parties in the Election Committee balloting.)

    Debating historic actions by Great Britain has no bearing whatsoever on how Hongkongers are treated today. If you feel they were poorly treated before then isn’t it time to recognize their rights – not justification for further abrogation of them?

  20. Democrats and deep state DC love China and its money. Communism is great for high level members of the party, horrible for everyone else. But keep telling yourself that the democratic party really cares about the American people.

  21. The travel industry is about to see a financial boom again from lifted restrictions. Affiliate marketers will have a virtual field day promoting travel related affiliate links!

  22. @DNN – your site man is kinda pure trash non-info (maybe the intention?) – do you actually get clicks?

  23. I loved Hong Kong. This is sad to see. The dictatorship of West Taiwan will ruin that great city.

  24. @Gary: It’s way beyond “banning” candidates now. It’s jailing pretty much all of them in the opposition camp until the NSL trial is done in a year or two sentencing them to a few more.

    One civic organization after another and one party after another self-disbanded in the past few weeks. Guess what, the most gentle/moderate Democratic Party is now THREATENED to not even consider NOT running candidates in the upcoming, entirely re-engineered, “improved” legislative election! They’re not just going to arrest anyone advocating blank votes, they’re going to jail un-arrested non-establishment political activists for NOT running!

  25. “It’s sad to see an authoritarian government tightening its control on people’s freedoms.” so true in so many ways.
    also
    THE CCP HAS NEVER CONTROLED TAIWAN. make sure all you ccp trolls tell that to Winnie

  26. There has been speculation that the song “Wind of Change” was somehow produced or backed by the CIA. There is a whole podcast on it.

  27. ChiComm trolls monitor the internet hourly for any negative ChiComm articles. The comments here are further proof of that along with what I see on social media platforms. They’re a disgusting bunch of criminals out to crush free thinking. They will get pay back one day. Bun

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