A group of UK MPs have written to the heads of BlackRock, the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the British Open and World Rugby Sevens, asking them to reconsider their links with HSBC and Standard Chartered over their support for China’s actions in Hong Kong.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong and select members of the Treasury Select Committee asked the organisers of sporting events to end their sponsorship deals with HSBC, as it claimed the bank has “repeatedly enabled and supported the Beijing-backed Hong Kong authorities to commit brutal human rights abuses against Hongkongers”.
Meanwhile a letter to BlackRock managing director Sarah Melvin said the firm’s investment in HSBC and Standard Chartered did not align with the company’s stated commitment to ethical funding.
“These banks’ support of the brutal national security laws (NSL) is fundamentally unethical, and we urge you to end your involvement with these banks for the sake of all Hongkongers fighting for their freedom and basic human rights,” the group said in the letter.
The UK government participated in a global backlash against Beijing’s implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong last year.
HSBC chief Noel Quinn faced questioning from MPs last month over the bank’s actions in Hong Kong, which included the freezing of some customers’ accounts under the order of local police.
The Hong Kong government and Chinese media later backed Quinn over his statements, in which he said it was not his role to make moral or political judgements.
Lord Shinkwin, the APPG’s vice chair and a signatory on the letters, said consumers would be “horrified” if they knew of their bank’s support of Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong.
“These high street banks must be called out for what they are condoning, and that is exactly what these letters are designed to do… There is a clear choice to be made here. These banks need to decide — either they stand for freedom and democracy or totalitarian repression. Silence speaks volumes. If they don’t respond, their customers and partners will draw their own conclusions.” he added.
HSBC, Standard Chartered and BlackRock declined to comment. Wimbledon organisers the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club were contacted for comment.
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