A former chief economist of Bank of Communications, the Chinese state-owned bank, has alleged he was forced to resign because he was a Hong Konger, highlighting concerns of a purge in the city’s financial services industry following months of pro-democracy protests.
Law Ka-chung, who was born and raised in the city, stepped down from his high-profile role at the Hong Kong unit of China’s fifth-largest bank in October after 14 years at the company. His departure came with no official explanation from BoCom.
Mr Law has told the Financial Times his departure was down to deep divisions that have emerged between mainland and local staff within the bank since the start of the protests. “They don’t think it’s appropriate for a Hong Kong guy to speak on behalf of a Chinese bank,” he said in his first interview with an international English-language media organisation since he was asked to resign.
Mr Law said the atmosphere within BoCom had become stricter in recent years, particularly over what he was able to say in media appearances. That contrasted strongly with 2014 when he commented on economic matters in public interviews at the time of the Umbrella Movement, a largely peaceful demonstration that occupied the streets of central Hong Kong for 79 days.
“Nowadays they even want to censor the views that you are expressing,” said Mr Law.
He said the bank’s management was particularly unhappy with his comments during a local radio interview that the Sars epidemic…