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China promises ‘steady progress’ to end rural banking crisis

China’s banking and insurance regulator said on Thursday it was making “steady progress” toward resolving an economic fiasco in which millions of dollars in deposits at rural branches of China’s central bank were frozen without explanation in April, the Chinese state agency said. world times reported.

“[R]important work regarding some village banks, where depositors have found that they cannot withdraw their money, is progressing steadily,” officials from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said on July 21.

“After the incident of the five rural banks in central China’s Henan Province and east China’s Anhui Province, the banking regulator has repeatedly said that it will strictly abide by the laws and regulations, would take the facts as the basis and take the law as the criterion for dealing with the matter,” the CBIRC said at a press conference on Thursday.

The world times said the state regulator specifically held the press briefing “to explain the development of the banking and insurance sectors in the first half of 2022.”

Administrators of the People’s Bank of China unceremoniously froze millions of dollars in deposits at several of its rural branches in Henan and Anhui provinces in April. The bank issued a vague message about the deposit freeze on April 18, telling customers they were supposed to “upgrade internal systems”, without giving further details.

“Although nominally small, China’s many local banks are outsized because they lend to small and medium-sized businesses so their activity can be an indicator of the health of the economy, the second largest in the world after the United States. “, noted Reuters on May 18.

Customers of banks affected by China’s central bank’s deposit freeze have tried to withdraw funds from affected branches in Henan and Anhui provinces since April, to no avail. Authorities in charge of the People’s Bank of China thwarted two such attempts in mid-June and again on July 8 by illegally changing the bank’s customer health code statutes so that they could not visit local branches of the bank. China’s central government requires people to show a state-issued health QR code with a “green” status (indicating they have recently tested negative for the Chinese coronavirus) before being allowed to travel. People’s Bank of China officials asked a big data company to change the health codes of “red” bank customers without permission.

China’s central bank’s refusal to release or process frozen deposits led nearly 1,000 bank customers to protest the situation on July 10. Hundreds of people gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China to demand the financial institution disburse their funds. . The protest was met with resistance from security personnel associated with the bank as well as local police in Zhengzhou, which is the capital of Henan province. Many rally participants told Reuters and The Associated Press that they were physically assaulted by security forces during the protest.

Video footage of the event released by Reuters on July 10 showed security personnel using heavy hands to push protesters back from the bank grounds. The video captured protesters holding banners that read: “No filing, no human rights” and “Against Henan provincial government corruption and violence”.

Security personnel announced the following message to protesters at the bank over a loudspeaker, according to Reuters: “Your actions have been deemed illegal. Leave in 10 minutes. If you disregard the instructions of the staff on site, if you do not leave and if you continue to disrupt society, the police will take severe action.

Asian News International alleged on July 21 that the Chinese military deployed “armoured tanks” on the streets of Henan to deter protesters from holding rallies outside local branches of the People’s Bank of China. The Indian News Agency did not say where in Henan province the alleged tank deployment took place or when it happened.

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