Jan 26, 2021

HSBC chief defends bank’s actions in Hong Kong

HSBC's chief executive defended the British bank's actions in Hong Kong, including supporting a controversial national security law and freezing the accounts of activists, during questioning by UK politicians who accused it of "Endorsing" China's erosion of democracy in the city. The chief executive had been summoned to explain a decision to freeze the account of former Hong Kong lawmaker, Ted Hui, who was arrested in connection with protests in the city in May last year. HSBC was founded in Hong Kong 155 years ago, but moved its headquarters to London when it bought Midland bank in 1993. When asked if there would be a moment when he would be willing to walk away from Hong Kong over geopolitics and changes to the legal system, the chief executive said the bank was "Nowhere near that point" and was "Too committed as an institution through our heritage and history". "We are trying to stay out of the politics of one country versus another . . . there is no benefit to me or HSBC in walking away from the community in Hong Kong at the moment. I would only harm Hong Kong, not help it."

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