HSBC exec's backing on national security law 'should have come earlier' Published: 2020/6/4 2:29:55

Pedestrians walk past an HSBC bank branch in Hong Kong. File Photo: VCG

HSBC came out to clarify its stance on the national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Wednesday. A Chinese expert said the bank's move should have come earlier, but can also be seen as a move "never too late" if the bank could follow its statement to the heart.

Peter Wong, HSBC's Asia-Pacific chief executive, signed a petition to support the new legislation by China's National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top lawmaking body.

According to a statement HSBC sent to the Global Times on Wednesday, the bank said: "We respect and support laws and regulations that will enable Hong Kong to recover and rebuild the economy and, at the same time, maintain the principle of 'one country, two systems.'" 

"We are fully committed to playing our part in supporting Hong Kong now and in the future," the statement read.

The move on Wednesday comes as HSBC, a leading lender in Hong Kong, is under pressure to clarify its stance on the new legislation.

One of the loudest criticism was from former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying, who wrote on Facebook on May 29 that HSBC should not damage China's sovereignty and dignity, and hurt Chinese people's feelings, while making money in the country.

Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University's Center for Economic Diplomacy, said the bank's statement "should have come earlier" as the bigger trend and public opinion in Hong Kong has been demonstrated in support of the new legislation. 

"However, if HSBC can show its sincerity and honor its statement with concrete actions in the future, we can describe Wong's signature as never too late," Song told the Global Times.

"It would be the bank's actions in the days to come that matters," Song said.

In an interview with the Xinhua News Agency, Wong said that he hopes the security legislation could help bring long-term prosperity and stability to Hong Kong. 

Earlier, some experts publicly urged the embattled banking giant to support the legislation. 

Some went so far as to suggest the authorities take "necessary measures"against the London-based lender - for example, putting it on the country's unreliable entity list.

HSBC has become the target of public anger for its alleged role in funding the Hong Kong riots last year and assisting the US government in its relentless crackdown on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Liu Guohong, director of the Department of Finance and Modern Industries at the China Development Institute in Shenzhen, told the Global Times that HSBC could be put on the country's unreliable entity list for its "disgraceful behavior" in the past years.

"The central government repeatedly stressed that the country gives equal treatment to foreign companies that comply with China's laws and regulations, but there is a bottom line that these firms can't exceed. Otherwise, they'll find that they're in trouble," Liu said.

The Standard Chartered Group told the Global Times on Wednesday that it believes the enactment of the national security law for Hong Kong will maintain the long-term economic development and social stability of the city.

The legislative will be helpful for the implementation of the "one country, two systems" policy and strengthen Hong Kong's status as a global financial hub and the business community's confidence, Standard Chartered said, noting that it will continue to unswervingly contribute to Hong Kong's success.

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