Chinese local banks are freezing deposits. Protestors cannot go near banks as their health app for COVID-19 turns red. Authorities provided no explanation.
Several depositors claimed 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 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.