China promises ‘steady progress’ to stem rural banking crisis
China’s Banking and Insurance Supervisory Authority claimed Thursday that it was making “steady progress” toward resolving an economic fiasco in which millions of dollars of deposits across rural branches of China’s central bank were frozen without explanation in April, the Chinese state announced. Global Times mentioned.
“[R]Representatives of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said on July 21 that work related to some village banks, where depositors found they could not withdraw their money, was making steady progress.
“Following the incident of five rural banks in central China’s Henan Province and east China’s Anhui Province, the banking regulator has stated several times that it will strictly abide by laws and regulations, take facts as the basis and take the law as the standard to deal with,” the board said at a press conference on Thursday.
The Global Times He said the state regulator specifically held a press conference “to explain the development of the banking and insurance sectors in the first half of 2022.”
People’s Bank of China officials unofficially froze millions of dollars in deposits at several of its rural branches in Henan and Anhui provinces in April. The bank issued a vague letter about the deposit freeze on April 18, telling customers they were allegedly “developing internal systems,” without going into details.
Reuters noted, “Although nominally small, many local banks in China are of great importance because they lend to small and medium-sized businesses, so their activity can be an indicator of the health of the economy, which is the second largest in the world after United State”. May 18.
Customers of banks affected by the deposit freeze at China’s central bank have tried to withdraw funds from relevant branches in Henan and Anhui provinces since April, but to no avail. The authorities in charge of the People’s Bank of China thwarted two such attempts in mid-June and again on July 8 by illegally changing the health code status of the bank’s customers so that they could not visit the bank’s local branches. China’s central government requires people to show a country-issued health QR code with a “green” status (indicating they have recently tested negative for the Chinese coronavirus) before they are allowed to travel. Officials at the People’s Bank of China have asked a big data company to change the health codes of bank customers “in red” without permission.
China’s central bank’s refusal to release or process frozen deposits prompted nearly 1,000 of the bank’s customers to protest the situation on July 10. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China to demand the financial institution to release their money. . The demonstration was met with resistance from security personnel associated with the bank as well as local police officers in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province. Several of the marchers told Reuters and the Associated Press that they were physically assaulted by security forces during the demonstration.
Video footage of the event released by Reuters on July 10 showed security personnel using their heavy hands to push back the protesters and drive them off the bank grounds. The video depicted protesters holding placards that read “No deposit, no human rights” and “Against the corruption and violence of the Henan provincial government.”
Security personnel announced the following message to bank protesters over loudspeakers, according to Reuters, “Your actions were deemed illegal. Leave after 10 minutes. If you do not respond to the instructions of the staff at the site, if you do not leave and if you continue to disrupt the community, the police will take strict action.”
Asean News International alleged on July 21 that the Chinese military deployed “armored tanks” in the streets of Henan to discourage protesters from staging demonstrations outside local branches of the People’s Bank of China. The Indian news agency did not specify the location of the alleged deployment of tanks in Henan Province, nor when it occurred.