Support Hong Kong. Boycott HSBC and First Direct.

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A few days ago, June 4th, marked the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. It also marked the day that HSBC would announce the disappointing news that they were standing with China in support of its new “security” law.

It would be naive to think that the bank, which in its advertising has described itself as a “global citizen” actually cares about the citizens of Hong Kong. However by doing this they are making the assumption that you also do not care about the citizens of Hong Kong. Or, at the very least, you do not care about it enough to close any accounts you have with them.

With eight million customers in the UK, across their First Direct and HSBC brands, I’m not going to pretend that a few committed activists shutting their accounts will cause them to row back on their policy, but, that being said, I for one am also not content with sitting and doing nothing. I cannot “support” a business with my custom which chooses to favour a totalitarian state that quashes free speech and backs a law which has led to sustained protests in Hong Kong.

That’s why June 4th also marked the day that I shut my First Direct accounts and, if you care about protecting the people of Hong Kong, I’d urge you to do the same with any personal, business or local party accounts you may hold with them – and please, don’t be shy about letting them know exactly why you’re closing them down.

#BoycottHSBC #BoycottFirstDirect

* Guy Benson is a Liberal Democrat member who also serves on the executive of the Young Liberals.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • @ Guy Benson Have you approached Sir Danny Alexander – as a good radical Liberal – for his support, Guy ?

    I gather he’s supposed to have a bit of clout (or has he ?) in Beijing, which is where the HQ of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is based. Danny is the bank’s vice president and corporate secretary of AIIB.

  • Paul Brennock 6th Jun '20 - 2:39pm

    Important to point out that “The Bank” as HSBC is known in Hong Kong, only welcomed the Chinese government’s legislative measures insofar as they would ‘stabilise’ the Territory. Presumably they were speaking from a commercial point of view, stability being prized by business and banks everywhere.
    It’s difficult to understand how the token closing of a few HSBC UK bank accounts is going to influence some stance on human rights which The Bank is actually silent on.

  • Charles Smith 7th Jun '20 - 12:27pm

    International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will begin their discussions on Tuesday, Japanese newspaper Nikkei claimed. The ministers, who will speak via video conference, intend to strike a deal which would come into force from the start of 2021, Nikkei said.
    Japan is hoping to clinch favourable deals in areas including automobiles, while the UK is keen to focus on the financial sector, the paper added.
    The UK published its negotiating objectives for a free trade agreement with Japan on May 13.

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