Daily US Times: HSBC and Standard Chartered have given their backing to the new security laws for Hong Kong taken by mainland China.
Both giant banks issued statements saying the proposed law can help maintain long-term stability in the troubled city. HK is important for both HSBC and Standard Chartered.
HSBC’s Asia Pacific chief executive Peter Wong signed a petition on Wednesday backing the law which has been widely criticised.
But this backing comes as Japanese bank Nomura said it is “seriously” examining its presence in Hong Kong.
HSBC said in its statement that the Hong Kong Association of Banks had already issued a statement, in which the association said the law would contribute to a stable business environment.
What did the banks say?
Hong Kong is very important for HSBC. Although it is the largest bank in Europe, but it has a strong presence in Asia, specially in Hong Kong.
The bank’s full name is the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and has its origins in the city, the former British colony.
HSBC moved its headquarters to London in 1993, but Hong Kong still remains its biggest market.
Standard Chartered statement said: “We believe the national security law can help maintain the long-term economic and social stability of Hong Kong.” It also has a strong presence in Asia.
“The ‘one country, two systems’ principle is core to the future success of Hong Kong and has always been the bedrock of the business community’s confidence”, its statement added.
When HSBC and Standard Chartered are backing China’s policy on Hong Kong, Japanese investment bank Nomura said it is reviewing its scale of operations in Hong Kong.
Kentaro Okuda, the bank’s chief executive said in an interview with Financial Times that while Hong Kong remained its most critical Asian hub outside Japan, the situation now was “not the same as it used to be”.
What are the new security laws?
The details of the new security laws are still being fleshed out, but would make criminal any act of:
subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government
terrorism – using violence or intimidation against people
secession – breaking away from the country
Residents of Hong Kong are concerned this will affect free speech and their right to protest. In China this would be seen as subversion. People are also worried about suggestions that China could set up its own institutions in Hong Kong responsible for security.