UK MPs: HSBC Complicit in Violating Rights of Hong Kong Expats

UK MPs: HSBC Complicit in Violating Rights of Hong Kong Expats
Last updated Feb 09, 2023
Image credit: Bloomberg [via Telegraph]


  • A probe by UK peers and MPs has concluded that HSBC is complicit in allleged human rights abuses by complying with China's directive to prevent overseas citizens of Hong Kong from withdrawing pension contributions from the city's Mandatory Provident Fund.
  • Wednesday's report accused HSBC of being motivated by a desire to protect profits and remain in favor with China's government when it imposed the measures on Hong Kongers who had traveled to Britain following Beijing's alleged anti-democracy crackdown.
  • The National Security Law (NSL), passed by China in 2020, criminalized dissent, protest, and disobedience in the city. It imposed extended prison terms for those found guilty of colluding with foreign powers or breaking away from the nation — leaving those who accepted a British invitation to relocate to the UK particularly susceptible.
  • Despite the resolution from the cross-party group, HSBC said it had merely been obeying the law: "Like all banks," it said, "we have to obey the law, and the instructions of the regulators, in every territory in which we operate."
  • However, Alistair Carmichael, co-chair of the group and member of the Liberal Democrats, claimed that the "genuine hardship" caused by denying people their savings meant that HSBC had gone beyond just "interpretation of the law" to violation of "fundamental rights."
  • Over 88K people have relocated to the UK from Hong Kong since 2021 under the British National Overseas (BNO) visa scheme.


Pro-China narrative

Despite a consistent sour grape mentality among some Western media and observers, Hong Kong has managed to attract endorsement from global financial leaders, including representatives of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Blackstone. Investment from the industry has shown clear confidence in the "one country, two systems" governance of Hong Kong. Any deviation from laws in Hong Kong, such as NSL, would undermine the success of this global financial hub.

Anti-China narrative

As businesses worldwide rapidly shift to put ethics and sustainability at the heart of corporate processes, HSBC needs to reassess its own principles. Despite global condemnation of Beijing's brutal crackdown, HSBC defended its draconian legislation on the world stage, putting domestic law in Hong Kong above global international human rights law, begging the question of whether it values profit over the defense of democracy and human rights.

Nerd narrative

There's a 50% chance that Hong Kong will stop being a Special Administrative Region of China by November 2044, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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