Laura Cha's remarks at a trade meeting in Paris were flagged by The New York Times in an article published Friday:
“American slaves were liberated in 1861, but did not get voting rights until 107 years later,” she was reported as saying by The Standard, an English-language Hong Kong newspaper. “So why can’t Hong Kong wait for a while?”
Cha, who was educated in the United States, is a "nonofficial member" of Hong Kong’s Executive Council and a board member of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC).
Thousands have already signed a petition demanding that Cha apologize and HSBC condemn her remarks, according to Reuters.
"We, the Hong Kong public, 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," the petition read.