Update: Henan financial authorities to advance payment to clients who have frozen bank deposits
Published: Jul 11, 2022 06:41 AM
Handcuffs photo: VCG
Handcuffs photo: VCG

Central China's Henan Province banking and insurance industry regulator and the province's financial affairs supervision bureau said on Monday that they will advance deposits for clients of four local banks who previously denounced they had problems withdrawing money from local banks.

Starting from July 15, the first batch of advance payments will be targeted at customers with a total amount of 50,000 yuan ($7440) or less for single organizations and individuals, for whose deposit amount above 50,000 yuan ($7440) will be arranged advance payment later shortly afterward.

The authorities earlier said they were ramping up the verification of the information of the clients and laying out a plan to protect the people's legal rights. They urged those who were affected to register as soon as possible. 

Since April 18, clients of four rural banks in Henan and one in neighboring Anhui Province found that they could not withdraw their cash. Later, some of them complained online that they could not make their planned trip to Zhengzhou to report this issue because their digital health codes, which track people's travel and COVID-19 nucleic acid test information, turned red. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, most public places and public transportation services in Chinese cities require people to present a green health code taken within 48-72 hours to show that the holders are safe from COVID-19 infections.

After an initial probe, the Henan authorities said on June 18 that the Henan New Wealth Group was found to have accessed and manipulated the online trading systems of the Yuzhou Xin Minsheng Village Bank and three other rural lenders. 

The public security bureau in Henan's Xuchang city previously filed a case against Henan New Wealth Group and arrested a number of suspects.

Xuchang police said in a statement on Sunday that they had arrested other suspects and froze a batch of assets involved in the case.

Further investigations showed that, since 2011, a group led by a suspect named Lü Yi, the actual head of the Henan New Wealth Group, had been using the village's banks to engage in illicit activities and various serious crimes, the statement said. 

Meanwhile, the red health code issue has sparked public outrage, prompting suspicions of abuse of the health code system in the province. On June 22, five officials from Zhengzhou, Henan, were punished for abusing the health code system.

Some depositors of several rural banks in Henan found their health code turned red again starting Thursday. Local health commission then explained that that the situation was caused by a switch of [health code] systems.

The new error from Thursday once again prompted debate on local management of the system which is at core of China's COVID prevention strategy.
The health code is a technical means that can only be used for epidemic prevention purposes and it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to protect the privacy of citizens to the greatest extent during the epidemic prevention process. Misuse of health code-related information is not a trivial matter. If someone tries to use the health code for purposes other than epidemic prevention, this kind of behavior is not only against social morality, but also suspected of violating the law, observers said.

Global Times