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Protests Rage As Chinese Banks Won’t Let People Withdraw Their Funds

Crowds of Chinese bank customers demonstrated outside a bank on Sunday over bank accounts that were frozen for months in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, according to the Associated Press.

Several hundred protesters shouting slogans gathered in the early morning at the entrance to a branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) in Zhengzhou, a Chinese city located 380 miles southwest of Beijing, reported the AP. The protesters are among thousands of depositors who found that they could not withdraw their money from the accounts for months due to an upgrade of the bank’s internal systems, Reuters reported.

Police, who closed off the area after they arrived, told protesters that they were illegally assembled and would be detainedif they refused to disperse, the AP reported. A banking regulator and a local government official also arrived to address the crowd, but the protesters shouted them down.

Protesters were pushed and dragged off the bank’s steps by plainclothes security teams. When the security staff rushed to disperse the crowd, protesters threw objects, including water bottles, at them.

The demonstrators were then escorted to numerous sites where they were forced to sign letters vowing that they would no longer protest at the bank, according to the AP.

Four banks in the Henan province froze deposits worth up to $1.5 billion in mid-April amid China’s recent economic downturn, leaving thousands of citizens in the Henan and neighboring Anhui province without access to their bank accounts.

This led to unrest and planned protests after the banks and authorities failed to respond to complaints, reported the AP. Last month, the planned demonstrations were suppressed by China’s COVID-19 tracking app, which barred citizens from traveling to the bank by designating them as a public health risk.

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

The PBOC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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