Banking sector breaks silence after two months, condemns violence in HK

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/22 20:53:45

People pass by a HSBC bank in Hong Kong in February. Photo: IC

As a core business in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), the banking industry has finally started to make statements about the ongoing radical protests in the city and criticize violence via local media.

Among those making such moves was HSBC Bank, which declared its stance for the first time since the beginning of the protests.

Experts noted that these delayed statements might have been driven by pressure from public opinion and concern that their revenue in China might be hurt by their ambiguous stances.

HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia published full-page statements on Thursday, condemning the continuous violent behavior that has damaged Hong Kong's order and global reputation as a society under the rule of law, domestic news site reported on Thursday.

HSBC Bank said that social stability and the legal system made up the critical foundation of Hong Kong, an international finance center, according to the report.

Standard Chartered declared its stance by saying it unswervingly supports China's "one country, two systems" principle and supports the SAR government to restore order and security, the report said.

"We are deeply concerned about recent events in Hong Kong and wanted to communicate directly with the community via this advertisement. We condemn violence and fully support the ambition to resolve the present situation peacefully," an HSBC spokesperson told the Global Times on Thursday.

However, the Financial Times reported that there was an internal memo sent to staff by HSBC on Thursday, saying that the bank would not issue an advertisement in English and "we are not changing our apolitical stance."

The bank has helped lead US charges against Huawei, as it was attempting to convince the US Department of Justice to dismiss criminal charges for the bank's own misconduct involving US sanctions, Reuters reported in February.

Dong Shaopeng, an advisor to the China Securities Regulatory Commission, told the Global Times on Thursday that statements condemning violence could not just be measures to ease the pressure of public opinion.

"Any internal version, such as a so-called apolitical stance or neutral stance, is unacceptable and should be condemned," Dong noted.

Transnational companies should respect local countries' territorial integrity and sovereignty, which is a basic principle anywhere in the world, Dong said, adding that foreign companies' apolitical stances actually have a clear political bias that connives with rioters.

Global Times

Posted in: COMPANIES

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