Laura Cha

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The Honourable
Laura Cha Shih May-lung
Laura M. Cha - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009.jpg
Non-official Member of the
Executive Council of Hong Kong
Assumed office
19 October 2004
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa
Donald Tsang
Leung Chun-ying
Carrie Lam
HK Deputy to the NPC
Assumed office
Chairman Wu Bangguo
Congress 11th NPC
Personal details
Born (1949-12-05) December 5, 1949 (age 68)
Alma mater BA, University of Wisconsin–Madison
JD, Santa Clara University
Laura Cha Shih May-lung
Traditional Chinese 查史美倫
Simplified Chinese 查史美伦

Laura Cha Shih May-lung, GBM, GBS, JP[1] (Chinese: 查史美倫; born 5 December 1949[2]) is a Hong Kong businesswoman and politician. She is a non-official member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, Chairperson of Preparatory Task Force on the Financial Services Development Council, and Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

Early life[edit]

On 5 December 1949, Cha was born in Shanghai, China. At age 2, Cha and her family moved to British Hong Kong.[3]


Cha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.[4] She was a member of the Committee of 100, a Chinese American political and cultural organisation.[2]


In 1983, Cha was admitted to the State Bar of California as Laura May-Lung Cha.[4] Cha practised law with Pillsbury Madison and Sutro, one of the powerful lawfirm in San Francisco, California. Since 1994, Cha no longer practice law in California, U.S.[4]

Career in Hong Kong[edit]

After her return to Hong Kong, Cha continued practising law with Coudert Brothers.

Cha worked at Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission from 1991 to early 2001, becoming its Deputy chairman in 1998.

Cha served as Hong Kong's delegate to the 11th National People's Congress, Vice-Chairman of the International Advisory Council of the CSRC, Chairman of the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Millstein Center of Corporate Governance and Performance at Yale University.[when?]

Cha was Vice-Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) from 2001 to 2004. Cha was appointed to the post by the State Council of the People's Republic of China and became the first person outside mainland China to join the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China at the vice-ministerial rank. Cha renounced US citizenship to take up the position.[5]

In 2012, Cha was named an Honorary Fellow by the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute.

2014 Hong Kong protests controversy[edit]

Cha was reported by The Standard to have likened the pro-Occupy activists demand for democracy in the 2014 Hong Kong protests to the emancipation of African-American slaves at a conference at Paris, asking why Universal Suffrage "could not wait" for Hong Kongers in light of the historical disenfranchisement of African Americans.[6][7] Her remarks were criticised on social media, with a petition on stating that the signatories, "will not stand these remarks likening our rights to slavery, nor will we stand the kind of voter disenfranchisement her and her associates attempt to perpetrate on the Hong Kong public."[6][8]

In response, Cha stated that she had in no way made any comparison of the Hong Kong protests to the emancipation of African American slaves. In her interview she had simply made the point that in every country, the electoral system and voting mechanisms evolved over time. It had done so in France, in the UK, in the United States and elsewhere. She further explained that the National Peoples' Congress decision of August 31, 2014 was the beginning of Hong Kong's journey to full democracy, and that Hong Kong should accept the package now... and improve upon it over time. "

Personal life[edit]

Cha is married and has two children. Cha's husband is a businessman based in Hong Kong.[3][9] Cha renounced her United States citizenship prior to taking a position with China.[3]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

On May 12, 2011, Cha was an honored by Committee of 100 for her philanthropic contributions to higher education at the 20th Awards Gala in New York, U.S.[10]


External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Cheng Yiu-tong
Non-official member of the Executive Council
Hong Kong order of precedence
Non-official member of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
Anthony Cheung
Secretary for Transport and Housing