People in Henan province, China, knelt and pleaded for their savings deposited in several troublesome banks to be returned. However, many police went to suppress them.

According to some tweets posted over the past few days, many depositors gathered to protest against some local commercial banks after finding they could not withdraw their cash.

As reported earlier, four rural commercial banks in Henan suddenly froze all deposits in mid-April. They told customers that they were upgrading internal systems. These lenders include Yuzhou Xinmin Sheng Village Bank, Shangcai Huimin Village Bank, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank, and Kaifeng New Oriental Rural Bank.

The four banks collectively involve nearly one million depositors and tens of billions of yuan in deposits.

When the victims found they could no longer withdraw funds normally from these banks, they gathered to protest many times.

Twitter account @TragedyInChina posted a video on May 22. The video describes the depositors kneeling in the street to petition against the Henan banks.

Another account named @xinwendiaocha published two videos on May 22. The first video features a group of financial refugees holding placards to protest in front of police in the street. They ask the government to deal with the issues and help protect their rights.

The other video describes the protesters, many sitting on the pavement, mourning like at a funeral.

Twitter account @wanjunxie posted a video on the noon of May 23. In the video, many policemen are confronting a crowd of protesters who are holding Chinese flags and placards. The caption said, “Thunderstorm at Henan village banks, depositors protested, and a large number of police went to suppress it!”

The protests continued even though authorities had explained to the victims.

On May 18, the central bank and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said that a shareholder of the four village banks is Henan New Fortune Group. It illegally absorbed public funds through internal and external collaboration, using third-party platforms and fund brokers.

That group is suspected of crimes, and the public security agencies have opened an investigation. They claimed that all related businesses in the four involved banks are “protected by law” and that deposit and withdrawal services are carried out as usual.

However, some victims believe that this statement was released to ease public anger. The relevant agencies are shirking their responsibilities and do not want to solve the problem. In fact, non-local people are not allowed to withdraw money.

The banks in Henan have changed their statements several times. At first, they said that there was system maintenance. Then, they said that there were frauds. And then they said that there were economic crimes. So it remains unclear even now.

Since May 18, many of the victims went to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Bureau to defend their rights. As a result, they were expelled, and many have been arrested.

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