According to the Reuters report, major international banks, including Credit Suisse, HSBC, Julius Baer, and UBS, now screen their clients in Hong Kong on potential ties to the city’s pro-democracy movement. Hong Kong citizens are protesting over China-backed national security law enforced earlier this year, endangering the city’s autonomy. According to the report, major international banks are scanning clients’ records for political and government ties to impose additional diligence requirements. Hong Kong has been facing political turmoil for a long time, and the autonomy of the city is being snatched away by mainland China.
Banks are looking to apply major service limitations to people who are “politically exposed.”
Even though governments of a few countries have spoken in favor of Hong Kong protesters, but the actions of banks differ from their governments’ stance. The report cited its sources close to the matter, saying that the banks are scanning clients’ records for political and government ties in order to impose additional diligence requirements. The records include comments made by clients and their associates in public and media, as well as recent social media posts, the report notes. The national security law enforced by China threatens to curb free speech and protests in Hong Kong as well as undermine the country’s autonomy. Earlier, social media companies had come out in support of Hong Kong demonstrators.
Some Hong Kong citizens turn to crypto to resist financial surveillance.
The new national security law enables the government to freeze and confiscate assets from people or organizations that are suspected of being involved in national security crimes. Data suggests Hong Kong citizens are increasingly using stablecoins, which are digital tokens whose value is pegged to fiat currencies, to keep their assets independent of a banking system that is subject to government control and evade financial surveillance. Many Hong Kong citizens have also been using encrypted communication tools to evade internet surveillance from the communist party.