At least 1,000 people protested China’s freezing of millions of dollars in bank deposits in Zhengzhou, China, outside the branch of the central branch, while the Chinese Communist Party-controlled media continues to downplay the protests’ breadth and significance. The state-run Global Times placed much of the blame on Western media whom they accuse of fomenting the hysteria. Several rural banks froze deposits in April, and the protest participants are demanding that this be reversed, while experiencing physical abuse and injuries at the hands of security personnel sent to the rally.
As reported by Breitbart, the Global Times reported that:
Chinese experts on Tuesday refuted recent Western media hype over problems with four rural banks in Central China’s Henan Province that have sparked widespread attention as well as swift regulatory actions, noting that the cases are “isolated” and do not represent any nationwide systemic risk and China has the capability to prevent major financial risks after years of efforts to set up a multiple-layered financial risk aversion mechanism.
The bank accounts were frozen without explanation in April, and account holders have been trying to withdraw their money for months. Many protestors traveled hundreds of miles from rural areas to join the protest while attempting to gain access to their accounts.
Those who regulate China’s central bank have been accused of abusing the government Smart City coronavirus health code system by changing the codes of certain account holders to “red” in April, meaning that they were prohibited from visiting the bank. However, these individuals were not at any higher risk of spreading the Chinese coronavirus. Upon this new attempt at retrieving their money, bank authorities illegally changed some account holders’ health codes “red” again thereby unleashing concerted protests against the illegal action which is suspected of being tied to nationwide financial instability in the Communist country.
People began to post videos of security personnel using violence to foil the rally in Zhengzhou, in the Henan province. One video clip shows demonstrators standing outside the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China on Sunday holding posters that read, “No deposit, no human rights” and “Against the corruption and violence of the Henan provincial government.”
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Demonstration suppressed by the police in front of the People’s Bank of China in Zhengzhou. Thousands of small savers have not been able to withdraw money from their banks since April.#China #Zhengzhou #Protest #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/4etDE5sLAP
— WeAreProtestors (@WeAreProtestors) July 10, 2022
Security authorities tried to contain the protest by urging the crowd to disperse via loudspeaker announcements, apparently using the message, “Your actions have been deemed as illegal. Leave in 10 minutes. If you do not heed instructions from staff on site, if you do not leave and if you continue to disrupt society, the police will take stern action.”
The Global Times reported that the rural depositors were caught in illegal fundraising, but also mentioned the potential abuse of the Smart City health system and that several officials were disciplined for this breach:
Some depositors of small rural banks, registered in Henan Province and reportedly caught in illegal fundraising, found their health codes turned red for unknown reasons when they tried to arrive in Henan to withdraw their money, prompting suspicions of abuse of the health code system in the province.
Later investigation by discipline authorities found officials of provincial capital Zhengzhou’s epidemic prevention and control headquarters made the decision without authorization and asked a big data firm to conduct the change.
It was estimated that 1,317 clients with savings in the rural banks had their health codes changed and five officials were punished after the discipline inspection.
China’s central bank released a series of statements informing the public that customers would be reimbursed, those with small deposits almost immediately, and those with large deposits at a later date, according to the AP as reported by Breitbart.
But it appears that the statements were issued to quell the protest and to maintain some semblance of stability, rather than an admission of wrongdoing.