HSBC ‘Colluded’ with CCP to Debank Democracy Activists: Hong Kong Watch

Protesters sit outside a HSBC in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong on August 11, 2019, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that was quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms. - Thousands of pro-democracy protesters hit the streets of Hong Kong for a tenth …
ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images

Multinational investment bank HSBC has “colluded” with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to debank pro-freedom campaigners in Hong Kong, says the founder of Hong Kong Watch, as the bank’s chief executive is set to be grilled by British MPs on Tuesday.

Last month, HSBC froze the accounts of a church in Hong Kong that had provided humanitarian assistance to protesters during the massive movement against the national security law, which was illegally imposed on the city by the communist dictatorship in Beijing.

Ted Hui, a former member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, also had his bank accounts frozen after he fled the former British colony to seek political asylum in the United Kingdom.

Last week, in a remarkable move for a bank boss, chief executive of HSBC Noel Quinn personally told Mr Hui: “I regret that HSBC is not able to operate your bank and credit card accounts.”

Following the admission, Mr Quinn, alongside HSBC compliance chief Colin Bell, will be forced to give evidence to the British parliament’s foreign affairs committee on the national security law and the “recent freezing of accounts of activists”, according to The Telegraph.

In comments made to Breitbart London, the founder and chairman of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers, said: “HSBC’s collusion with the Chinese Communist Party’s repression is absolutely outrageous and should be called out clearly by the international community.”

“HSBC could have remained silent on the national security law, it could have been courageous and refused to freeze the accounts of Ted Hui, his family, Pastor Roy Chan and his wife and church, but instead HSBC caved in immediately and became a party to repression.

“HSBC now faces a choice: does it want to be a global bank or a CCP-controlled bank. It cannot be both,” Rogers concluded.

Ted Hui has said that HSBC never questioned him about any transactions or reported any suspicious activity, but that the bank shut down his account “because the police said so”.

“The international bank has put its customer service on the pillar of shame in its political toadyism,” Mr Hui said.

The chair of the foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat said that HSBC’s CEO was “clearly defending his actions by denying responsibility”.

HSBC, which stands for the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, is heavily dependent on its profits from mainland China.

As a result, the bank has backed the draconian national security law, which was illegally imposed on the city, contravening the “One Country, Two Systems” policy which sought to ensure the city’s freedoms as promised under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Those convicted of engaging in “foreign interference”, “secession”, “terrorism”, and “subversion of state power” face at least ten years in prison.

In July, Reuters reported that wealth managers at HSBC were scanning their client lists for any connections to the pro-democracy movement in order to keep in line with the diktats from Beijing.

On Sunday, The Telegraph also revealed that MPs in Britain have been informed of allegations that the bank protected a Chinese executive who was accused of sexually assaulting an employee because of the executive’s status as an official for the Chinese Communist Party.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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