A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers sought to explain to HSBC Holdings about the freeze on Hong Kong activist accounts and the restrictions on U.S. citizens’ accounts, and urged banks to take “immediate remedial” actions.
A group of six US Senators and members of the Federal Assembly Executive Committee on China letter We asked Noel Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of the HSBC Group, for a “transparent answer” to the bank’s actions.
They accused banks of freezing accounts for Hong Kong activists, independent media and citizens’ groups. Many of these have been forced to close or terminate their businesses.
Among the individuals whose accounts have been frozen include former Hong Kong democratization advocate Ted Hui and Jimmy Lai, CEO of the now abolished Apple Daily Democratization Promotion Newspaper. Was there.
British National Overseas Passport holders have also been denied access to the HSBC Pension Fund as they leave Hong Kong for the UK, “whether HSBC supports and supports government policies to limit exits.” I am asking questions about.
The group also said it was informed that US citizens’ accounts, including the HSBC branch in the US, were restricted and demanded “immediate remediation” if this was true.
“We asked HSBC whether these measures were requested by Hong Kong or People’s Republic of China officials, addressing the above concerns, and whether these measures were in line with HSBC’s established policies and the United Nations. We urge you to justify why these measures were taken, including: Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. “
“We are at the request of the Commission and will work to address their questions,” said Matt Ward, Head of Communications at HSBC Bank USA.
“Like all banks, we need to do business within the legal and legal framework of every country in which we do business,” Ward said.
Peter Wong, HSBC’s Chief Executive Officer for the Asia-Pacific region, had previously signed a petition in support of China’s imposition of National Security Act on Hong Kong. The law, enacted in June 2020, criminalizes Hong Kong’s separation, destruction, terrorism, and collusion with foreign troops.
Hong Kong and Chinese officials argued that the law brought stability to the city after a major anti-government protest.
A bipartisan group said in a letter that Hong Kong officials “put almost all of the city’s opponents behind the bar and refused most bail” as a result of the National Security Act.
“The government has also disqualified and arrested previously elected legislators and district councilors, and has set election rules so that only’patriots’ who have been thoroughly scrutinized by the National Security Police can run for future elections. I rewrote it, “they added.
Samuel Chu, the representative of the Hong Kong campaign, revealed the “important tactics of the Beijing government” in using private companies and financial institutions to do the “dirty work” of oppressing citizens and civil society. Supported the group’s statement. group.
“HSBC is not the first criminal. I’m glad this bipartisan parliamentary leader group is calling them,” Chu said. statementAdding HSBC’s actions to freeze activist accounts and restricting American citizens’ accounts “gets honest within the jurisdiction.”
Reuters contributed to this report.