Chinese local banks are freezing deposits. Protestors cannot go near banks as their health app for COVID-19 turns red. Authorities provided no explanation…
As The Epoch Times’ Dorothy Li reports, several depositors told The Epoch Times on June 14 that the health code on their COVID-19 app turned red as soon as they scanned venue barcodes at Zhengzhou, the provincial capital city of central China’s Henan Province.
A red health code – indicating a potential COVID-19 patient – means the carrier is barred access to all public places from public toilets to shops to train stations, and faced mandatory quarantine in centralized isolation centers.
They are among tens of thousands of bank depositors who have fought to recover their savings for more than two months. The crisis started in April when at least four lenders in Henan froze cash withdrawals, citing internal system upgrades. But customers said neither these banks nor officials have since offered any information on why or how long, prompting angry protests outside the office of the banking regulator in Zhengzhou in May.
An estimated 1 million customers were reportedly affected, which has left many residents’ life savings at stake and patients unable to pay for regular medical care.
Depositors have been cut off for at least 39.7 billion yuan ($5.91 billion), according to Sanlian LifeWeek, a state-run magazine.
Aggrieved depositors across the country planned another protest in Zhengzhou on June 13 to demand an answer, though previous gatherings were met with silence from local authorities and violence from plain-clothes police.
Their plan, however, was thwarted again as their health code turned red at the city’s train stations or highway entrance.
A red code indicates the highest level of risk, meaning the person tests positive, has been close to a COVID-19 patient, or has visited high COVID-risk areas in the past 14 days. Residents with red code face two weeks of centralized isolation.
“They [officials] are like robbers,” said a third bank customer who was stopped by police at Zhengzhou train station on June 12 and required to leave.
“We’re all legal depositors … Why couldn’t we even have an explanation?”
“It’s so scary,” one user commented.
“If the health code is abused … it could be putting digital handcuffs on us. Everyone will become a prisoner from now on and could be stopped anywhere, anytime.”
Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Earlier this month (June, 2022) we reported how over 1 million residents in China’s Henan Province were prevented from withdrawing their money from their bank, with many losing their entire life savings. See:
As Some Lockdowns in China End, People Beg the Government for Freedom Trying to Escape Medical Tyranny
Now it is being reported this week that as many protesters were heading to Henan province’s capital Zhengzhou to demand to get their money back, Chinese health authorities used their COVID-19 tracking app to turn up “red,” forcing them into quarantine, in order to stop the protests.
This is what happens when citizens freely give up their freedom to comply with government medical tyranny and let them track their movements and health status.
China is allegedly using its Covid tracking system to stop protests
Authorities in central China allegedly used the country’s powerful Covid tracking system to stop an anticipated protest, state media reported, sparking furious condemnation online on Wednesday.
China relies on a vast coronavirus surveillance infrastructure to carry out rigorous contact tracing as part of its zero-Covid strategy to stamp out all outbreaks.
Residents are required to scan codes on their smartphones to access public venues and transport nationwide. Those with red codes – either infected themselves or contacts of a Covid case – have their movement severely restricted.
Reports emerged this week of numerous disgruntled bank customers getting a red code when they attempted to travel to Henan province’s capital Zhengzhou to demand access to their money after withdrawals were frozen last month.
“Seeing this sent shivers down my spine. Uncontrolled power is too frightening,” wrote a user on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform, where hashtags related to the reports were trending Wednesday with tens of millions of views.
“It’s clearly abuse of power,” read another comment.
One bank customer suddenly received a red code when they arrived in the city, despite having a negative PCR virus test result, state media reported.
Another got it without even leaving their home, while some had their red codes turn green when they left Zhengzhou, reported Global Times, a state-run tabloid.
“This kind of behaviour is not only against social morality, but also suspected of breaking the law,” read a commentary published by the outlet.
Its former editor and prominent commentator Hu Xijin on Tuesday called it a “breach of pandemic prevention laws” that “damages the support of the people for the fight against the virus”.
Health authorities in Zhengzhou told AFP they were “currently investigating” the situation but provided no further details.
Global Times cited Henan authorities as saying a database glitch may be the cause.
Thousands of customers at four rural banks in Henan have had their savings frozen since mid-April after withdrawals were suddenly suspended, as China’s smaller lenders strain under an economic slowdown that has worsened under the zero-Covid policy.
The freeze triggered rare street protests last month, with total frozen deposits estimated to be as much as $1.5 billion, Chinese financial magazine Caixin reported.
hina’s banking regulator last month blamed the crisis on suspected bank shareholder mismanagement and vowed to “severely punish financial crimes”.
This is not the first time China’s Covid pass system has come under fire. Rights advocates say it is being used to stifle protests and suppress individual rights.
In recent months, some dissidents have claimed that their health codes turned red when they attempted to travel to major cities to attend trials or to petition authorities.
Read the full article at News.com.au.