Massive protest breaks out in China as bank scandal leaves thousands unable to cash out

China: Protesters clash on the street in Henan

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Xi Jinping’s regime has been confronted with large-scale demonstrations from customers of China’s central bank in the city of Zhengzhou after a large number of deposits were frozen.  An angry crowd descended on the bank branch to demand access to their savings with the protests eventually leading to angry clashes with security staff. 

Footage from outside the bank in Zhengzhou shows thousands of demonstrators chanting and holding up banners.

Plastic bottles can be seen being hurled at security guards attempting to confront the protest.

Guards were then captured on film dragging a number of demonstrators away. 

The banks froze millions of dollars worth of deposits in April, telling customers they were upgrading their internal systems. 

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The banks have not issued any communication on the matter since, depositors said.

Chinese media has reported that the frozen deposits could be worth up to $1.5 billion and authorities are investigating the three banks.

“I feel so aggrieved I can’t even explain it to you,” one protester, surnamed Zhang, 40, told Reuters.

Zhang said he had been hoping to retrieve about 170,000 yuan (£20,782) deposited with one of the banks, the Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank.

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Zhang said he had suffered injuries to his foot and thumb, and was taken away by four unidentified security personnel at around midday.

Security personnel outnumbered protesters by around three to one, he said.

“They did not say they would beat us if we refused to leave.

“They just used the loudspeaker to say that we were breaking the law by petitioning. That’s ridiculous. It’s the banks that are breaking the law.”

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The banks, which include the Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank and the Shangcai Huimin Country Bank, are under investigation by the authorities for illegal fundraising, the state-run Global Times reported.

More than 1,000 depositors from across the country had planned to gather in Zhengzhou last month to try to withdraw their money.

They were unable to when their Covid-19 health codes, which determine if one can travel, switched to a “no travel” status.

Five officials were subsequently punished for misusing the health code system.

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