Thousands Affected in Chinese Banking Scandal

Thousands of Chinese citizens have been barred from withdrawing their money from the Chinese Central Bank after a top executive went on the run after committing financial crimes...

NBC News reports
Thousands of customers who opened accounts at six rural banks that offered higher interest rates later found they could not withdraw their money.
A large crowd of angry Chinese bank depositors faced off with police Sunday, some roughed up as they were taken away, in a case that has drawn attention because of earlier attempts to use a Covid-19 tracking app to prevent them from mobilizing.
Hundreds of people held up banners and chanted slogans on the wide steps of the entrance to a branch of China’s central bank in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province, about 380 miles southwest of Beijing. Video taken by a protester shows plainclothes security teams being pelted with water bottles and other objects as they charge the crowd.
Later videos posted on social media show an unclear number of protesters being shoved forward individually and down stairs by security teams dressed in plain white or black T-shirts. Phone calls to Zhengzhou city and Henan province police rang unanswered.
The protesters are among thousands of customers who opened accounts at six rural banks in Henan and neighboring Anhui province that offered higher interest rates. They later found they could not withdraw their funds after media reports that the head of the banks’ parent company was on the run and wanted for financial crimes.
“We came today and wanted to get our savings back, because I have elderly people and children at home, and the inability to withdraw savings has seriously affected my life,” said a woman from Shandong province, who only gave her last name, Zhang, out of fear of retribution.
What had been a local scandal became a national incident last month because of the misuse of the Covid-19 tracking app. Many who set out for Zhengzhou to demand action from regulators found that their health status on the app had turned red, preventing them from traveling. Some reported being questioned by police after checking into their hotel about why they had come to the city. Five Zhengzhou officials were later punished.