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Cathay Pacific employees who have taken part in illegal rallies or "violent actions" are prohibited from flying in continental airspace. Reuters

Faced with protests in Hong Kong, which continue this weekend, China is attacking the Cathay Pacific. The Chinese Civil Aviation Bureau has asked the flagship airline of the special administrative region to suspend all its employees who participated in anti-government demonstrations.

With our correspondent in Beijing, Stéphane Lagarde

Starting this Saturday, August 10, Cathay Pacific employees who participated in rallies deemed illegal or " violent actions " are prohibited from flying in continental airspace. It is the system of social credit, hitherto reserved for the mainlanders, which is in fact applied here to the Hong Kong people. For the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), these crews of Cathay Pacific pose a risk to aviation safety.

The statement issued Friday ordered the company not only not to get them on planes to and from the mainland, but especially, from Sunday, to have the administration validate the list of flight crews before use continental airspace. For some crew members wishing to remain anonymous, this decision is primarily a way for the Chinese authorities to try to know the identities of "troublemakers".

Apart from a Cathay pilot accused of taking part in violent clashes with police last week; apart from a company employee suspected of having communicated on social networks the flight schedule of the Hong Kong Police Football Team going to the Olympic Games of Public Security (fire and force of the order), in western China this week, it is difficult to know who, within the company, supports or not the movement against the extradition law.

It is also a warning directly sent to the business world in Hong Kong. " We are studying the directive very carefully and we recognize that the administrative republic is part of China, " said a spokesman for Cathay Pacific, a company founded in 1946 and based in Hong Kong since then. And to add, however, that the company respected the private opinions of its staff and could not dictate to its employees what they should think.

Also read: These tactics developed by Hong Kong protesters