Banks condemn Hong Kong violence in newspaper adverts

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HSBC and Standard Chartered have taken out newspaper adverts in Hong Kong condemning the violence in the Asian financial hub.

In the adverts, the banks also called for a peaceful resolution after more than two months of political unrest.

Protests against an extradition bill have evolved into a pro-democracy movement, concerned about China’s growing power in the region.

Businesses, hit by the unrest, are also facing growing political pressure.

“We are deeply concerned about recent events in Hong Kong. We strongly condemn violence of any kind and the disruption caused to the communities in which our customers, staff and shareholders live,” HSBC said in the advert.

HSBC said maintaining the rule of law was “essential to Hong Kong’s unique status as an international financial centre”, adding “they fully support the ambition to resolve the present situation peacefully”.

The HSBC advert was published in Chinese in the Hong Kong Economic Times, Hong Kong Economic Journal, Sing Tao, Wen Wei Pao and Ta Kung Pao.

Standard Chartered echoed the sentiment in its advert placed in three newspapers including Wen Wei Po, Ta Kung Pao and Sing Tao Daily.

“We strongly support ‘one country, two systems’, and support the SAR [Special Administrative Region] government in effectively maintaining social stability and safety,” the advert said.

So far, banks have remained relatively muted on the politically-charged Hong Kong protests. In June, some banks said they had closed some branches due to disruption.

Businesses under pressure

Protestors in Hong Kong are fighting against what they see as a growing encroachment by China.

Businesses have come under mounting pressure as the political unrest has intensified.

That pressure culminated in the resignation of Cathay Pacific’s chief executive last week, after the Hong Kong flag-carrier became embroiled in a controversy surrounding the protests.

Several global brands including Versace, Sarowski and Coach have recently apologised to China for their representation of Chinese territories on their official websites or brand T-shirts.

The situation is increasingly worrying business and financial communities, which have long considered Hong Kong an attractive place to do business.

Hong Kong, home to Asia’s third-largest stock market, is one of Asia’s most important financial hub.

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