Hong Kong: Mixe Lee's bosses showed him two Facebook posts. One criticised the police for how they handled the anti-government demonstrations that have rocked the city of Hong Kong since June. Their question for Lee, a Cathay Pacific Airways flight attendant: Did he write them?

Lee denied it, though he had. Then last Thursday, a week after the interrogation, he joined the ranks of those fired by Cathay Pacific after expressing political views that could anger the Chinese government.

"I had never thought that the company would pick on my political orientation," said Lee, 30, who had worked at the carrier's Cathay Dragon regional airline for 3 1/2 years.

Cathay Pacific is fighting for its survival, and its employees risk becoming collateral damage. The Hong Kong-based airline is perhaps the most vulnerable of the global businesses caught between the city's pro-democracy protesters and a Chinese government that has labelled them violent radicals. China wants the business world to take its side, and it is threatening to withhold access to its big and growing market from companies that don't.

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