Bank protesters in China’s Henan province have been attacked by plainclothes groups

Bank protesters in China’s Henan province have been attacked by plainclothes groups

Bank protesters in China’s Henan province have been attacked by plainclothes groups

Hundreds of customers of a rural bank in central China’s Henan province were beaten, beaten and abducted on Sunday by a group of unknown individuals as they protested against local government corruption Freeze for months.

Since mid-April, savers have been pressuring Henan authorities to help recover savings from at least four small “village” banks that have stopped withdrawing. The campaign attracted national attention last month after a planned demonstration in Henan’s capital, Zhengzhou, was foiled by digital health codes that mysteriously turned red. Following nationwide protests over the abuse of the coronavirus system, the central government took action, punishing five local officials.

Over the weekend, the reserves tried again, this time with valid “green” codes. On Sunday morning, according to videos of the incident shared on Chinese social media, hundreds of protesters accused the local branch of the People’s Bank of China of corruption in its actions, including in English. “There are no reservations. There are no human rights.”

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“Dreams of 400,000 Chinese reserves in Hainan have been shattered,” another banner read, referring to President Xi Jinping’s slogan of a better life for those who work hard and remain loyal to the Chinese Communist Party. Does. Many raised Chinese national flags.

They also accused the government of working with the “mafia” to stop violent protests. It is not clear why the banks froze the withdrawal, but police are investigating the Henan New Fortune Group, which owns shares in four banks, on suspicion of illegal financing, according to local media reports.

In China it is common for police to be present at sensitive events without a uniform, instead often wearing pre-arranged insignia. During past legal proceedings for Chinese human rights lawyers, foreign journalists and diplomats gathered outside the courthouse were sometimes given the same yellow-smiling face badges by unknown individuals.

Extraordinarily brave demonstrations were carried out by dozens of uniformed police officers as well as a group of light men, many of whom wore white stamps that all came together. Video of the incident, which was widely shared on Chinese social media before the censors stepped in, showed officers in blue shirts standing next to them when a man in a white shirt began attacking people. The demonstrators were thrown into a flight of stairs before being taken away. Some are loaded onto buses, often sporting injuries caused by collisions.

“I was shocked from yesterday to today,” one protester said in an interview, speaking to foreign media to ask for anonymity for fear of official repercussions. He repeatedly called them “unknown” but added that “I never thought it would happen that the authorities would use such violence against unarmed and defenseless civilians.”

“If I hadn’t experienced it myself, I wouldn’t really believe it. When foreign media reported similar incidents in the past, I always thought it was an insult.”

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In response to the scene videos, Lao Dongyan, a law professor at Tsinghua University, called on the micro-blog Weibo to be arrested as the criminal culprit behind the beating.

Lao added that the media and the law’s “impunity system” should have deterred the efforts of stockholders to get down to such barbaric scenes to get their savings back. “It’s a concrete demonstration of the existence of a problem with the immune system: all normal avenues of seeking relief are closed. What’s feared may be just the beginning,” she said.

Missing savings are a relatively common cause of protests in China, despite widespread efforts by the stable Chinese Communist Party to curb public unrest. In recent years, crackdowns on poorly regulated financial products and partner-to-partner lending have repeatedly attracted investors to the capital to put pressure on the authorities to compensate for losses.

China’s rural banks are currently at the heart of the government’s campaign to curb debt. These foundations make up about 29 percent of all high-risk financial institutions in the country by mid-2021, according to the People’s Bank of China.

Faced with increasing competition from large institutions, many small banks have in recent years tried to attract depositors by using higher interest rates and signing up customers from all over the country for online services. Regulations for banks are not designed for Internet finance, He Peng, professor of finance at Renmin University, told Sunlin Lifeweek magazine.

The Hainan Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said on Sunday that it would expedite the approval process for customers of the four rural banks under investigation and would soon announce a solution to the problem.

Yet depositors continue to put up ways to put pressure on the Henan government, including comments under the official web account of the U.S. embassy in China, not to ignore the case. “Quickly report on Zhengzhou. Save us,” one user wrote on Sunday.

Week Chiang in Taipei, Taiwan contributed to this report.

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