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Chinese protest over frozen bank deposits

The Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank and the Shanghai Huimin Country Bank froze millions of dollars’ worth of deposits in April, telling customers they were upgrading their internal systems and have not issued any communication on the matter since.

More than 1,000 depositors from across the country had planned to gather in Zhengzhou last month to try to withdraw their money but they were unable to when their COVID-19 health codes, which determine if one can travel, switched to a “no travel” status.

About 3,000 people gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of China’s central bank with banners reading “No deposit, no human rights” and “Against the corruption and violence of the Henan provincial government.”

7月10日清晨,鄭州警方出動大批警力維稳集體抗議的河南村鎮銀行儲户。 pic.twitter.com/DSg24rFqw8

— Alchemist(卓然) (@Alchemist88888) July 10, 2022

Scuffles broke out, and a loudspeaker was used by the authorities to deter the protestors from the area, threatening stern action from the police. Several protestors reported injuries when heavy-handed security personnel dispersed the crowd.

今天的现场太震撼了,尚若河南方面不尽快处置,村镇银行依法合规的定期存款储户,会越来越多,直到存款圆满回家! pic.twitter.com/RQiprkcWl3

— 河南村镇银行维权 (@Qwaszx179730654) July 10, 2022

Among the injured, a protester on a wheelchair was reportedly beaten up by the police.

行动不便人士,被打惨了 pic.twitter.com/aKSHx6Hjhn

— 河南村镇银行维权 (@Qwaszx179730654) July 10, 2022

Chinese media has reported that the frozen deposits could be worth up to $1.5 billion and authorities are investigating the three banks, while none of the banks has responded to emails and telephone calls seeking comment.

All reports about the protest and the Chinese government’s use of the COVID code to limit citizen’s freedom of movement have been wiped off the internet within mainland China.


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