On July 10, 2022, more than a thousand depositors had gathered in front of the nation’s central bank’s Zhengzhou branch to commence their biggest-ever protest. In response, China deployed tanks to prevent people from withdrawing money from crisis-hit banks.
Armoured tanks were spotted positioned on the streets of China amid large-scale rallies by citizens demanding the return of their frozen savings by banks, in a chilling flashback of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, reports The Print.
For the past several weeks, the country’s Henan region has seen skirmishes between police and depositors, who claim they have been unable to withdraw their savings from banks since April of this year.
New footage have emerged online showing Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) tanks stationed on the streets to intimidate protestors. Bank depositors are staging large-scale rallies in the province to demand the release of their frozen assets.
Per the reports, the tanks were deployed on the streets to guard the banks and deter civilians from accessing them. The incident follows the declaration by the Bank of China’s Henan branch that savings of depositors in their branch are “investment products” and cannot be retrieved.
This occurrence raises the critical question of whether history will repeat itself.
This is a chilling flashback of China’s brutal response on June 4, 1989, when Chinese leaders brought in tanks and heavily armed troops to clear Tiananmen Square, where student demonstrators had camped for weeks to seek democracy and greater freedoms.
The onslaught, which slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of unarmed protestors, is outlawed in schools and heavily restricted in the media and online.
On the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, the world remembered the bravery of the legendary Tank Man, who remained steady in the face of an army, and whose picture became one of the twentieth century’s emblems.
After a violent demonstration in Henan’s capital, Zhengzhou, officials say they would begin releasing money in batches to depositors whose funds had been frozen by several rural banks, with the first due on July 15. Only a few depositors have received reimbursement, raising major concerns about whether institutions have anything to spare.
Several bank depositors in Henan villages and towns were meant to receive their money back on July 15, according to a notice issued by the Henan Provincial Financial Supervision Bureau.
Non-mainstream media, on the other hand, believes that only just few handfuls of depositors have made these payments. There has also been no mention of the reimbursement in Chinese state media.
Non-mainstream Hong Kong media also believes that, at a time when stability is most stressed and stability is in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s best interests, letting such events to escalate (such as the Zhengzhou bank protests) demonstrates that these financial institutions do not have cash to spare, at least not till the problems are settled.
A significant portion of local government revenue comes from leasing land, particularly to real estate developers, and because so many projects are still unfinished, many construction companies have not purchased land again, impacting local government earnings.
In the meantime, a video featuring Beijing’s Tsinghua University professor Zheng Yuhuang was recently shared online. In it, he claimed that 2022 will be difficult for China because 4,60,000 businesses closed down in the country in the first half of the year, 3.1 million industrial and commercial households have been written off, enterprise liquidation has increased by 23% annually, 10.76 million college graduates have entered the workforce under heavy employment pressure, and 80 million young people are unemployed.
According to media reports, the delay in addressing the suspension of loan repayment by homebuyers is due to the fact that, aside from senior officials directly in charge of urban development and real estate, nearly every successful real estate developer is a member of a powerful family within the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) elite, such as Xu Jiayin of Evergrande (one of China’s largest property developers), and Zeng Qinghong’s (CCP politician) niece Zeng Baobao directly engages in real estate to make money.
In order to get their development approved, regular real estate developers must bribe government representatives at all levels. The CPC’s top officials may have to de facto turn the knife inwards if they want to look into the corruption in unfinished structures and real estate.
Local media reported that white-clad men suppressed protests outside the Zhengzhou branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) during widespread demonstrations by bank depositors demanding the release of frozen funds in Henan province. The men are thought to be members of the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force.
On July 10, 2022, more than a thousand depositors had gathered in front of the nation’s central bank’s Zhengzhou branch to commence their biggest-ever protest. Numerous protests by hundreds of depositors were held in Zhengzhou, the Henan provincial capital, but the Chinese government disregarded their requests.