University of Wisconsin-Madison (Bachelor of Arts, 1972). University of Santa Clara (Juris Doctor, 1982). Spoken languages: Chinese.
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. She practised law in the 1980s in San Francisco with Pillsbury Madison and Sutro. After her return to Hong Kong, Cha continued practising law with Coudert Brothers.
She worked at Hong Kong"s Securities and Futures Commission from 1991 to early 2001, becoming its Deputy chairman in 1998.
Cha was Vice-Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) from 2001 to 2004. She 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.
She renounced United States citizenship to take up the position. In 2012, Cha was named an Honorary Fellow by the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute.
2014 Hong Kong protests controversy
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.
Her remarks were criticised on social media, with a petition on Change.org 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."
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. lieutenant had done so in France, in the United Kingdom, 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.
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. She was a member of the Committee of 100, a Chinese American political and cultural organisation. She 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.