March 24, 2023


HSBC has been accused of “doing the Chinese Communist Party’s dirty work” after it denied customers who fled from Hong Kong to the UK access to their own savings.

A damning report from the all-party parliamentary group on Hong Kong also attacked the London-based bank’s support for the anti-democratic laws imposed on the territory by Beijing.

Since early 2021, more than 88,000 people have escaped from Hong Kong to Britain following China’s crackdown.

Since early 2021, more than 88,000 people have escaped from Hong Kong to Britain following China’s crackdown.

But the parliamentary group found that the communist regime is not only brutalizing dissidents, but is also seeking to financially isolate those who have turned to the British government for safety and support, denying them the pension and personal savings they have built their lives on. spent. .

It said this was the most recent example of HSBC moving to Beijing to protect its profits.

The Mandatory Provident Funds (MPFs) are a mandatory retirement savings scheme for Hong Kong residents.

The funds are managed by banks, including HSBC, which was established in the area when it was under British control and makes most of its money in Asia.

Definitive departure from Hong Kong should give savers the right to withdraw money.

But last year the MPF authority said a British National Overseas (BNO) visa – used by people fleeing to the UK – could not be used as evidence.

The report found that by going along with this, HSBC was extending its record of “underhand collusion” with Beijing.

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It said the effect on many Hong Kongers was “devastating” and may have meant some could not leave.

The report added: ‘It could even lead to Hong Kongers having to return to Hong Kong and risk their lives because they cannot afford to settle in the UK.’

But it said HSBC’s reliance on Hong Kong as a profit center “means it cannot afford to arouse Beijing’s wrath, and a number of decisions have been made where it has been forced to endorse the Chinese Communist Party’s line.” .

Alistair Carmichael MP, co-chair of the group, said the bank was “doing the Chinese Communist Party’s dirty work”. He called on the government to put pressure on it to “act better.”

“The British taxpayer has extended the hand of friendship to people fleeing the Chinese government in Hong Kong,” Carmichael said.

‘A bank headquartered in London has chosen the other side. We have a series of sanctions against individuals who are complicit in human rights abuses and that is what is happening in Hong Kong.

“If sanctions are to be imposed on HSBC directors, our government must be prepared to make it clear to them.”

HSBC has also been criticized for freezing the accounts of pro-democracy activists and supporting the National Security Act.

The CEO, Noel Quinn, was questioned by a select committee on Hong Kong in 2021, saying it was not his position to make “moral or political judgments” and that he had to “comply with the law.”

HSBC said: ‘Like all banks, we must comply with the law and instructions from the regulators in each region in which we operate.’

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It said it followed guidance from the Hong Kong regulator regarding MPFs, and the regulator had said a BNO was not “proof of right of abode outside Hong Kong.”

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