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UPDATE 1-U.S. says China 'bullying' UK, cites HSBC Hong Kong-related accounts

Wed, 26th Aug 2020 12:37

(Adds quotes, background, no comment from bank, photo)

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo on Wednesday said the United States was "dismayed" by
British bank HSBC's reported actions toward certain
Hong Kong-related accounts, including those linked to
pro-democracy publisher Next Media, and said China was
"bullying" the United Kingdom.

Pompeo cited reports of Hong Kong-based executives at Next
Media being unable to access their HSBC bank accounts and said
the bank was "maintaining accounts for individuals who have been
sanctioned for denying freedom for Hong Kongers, while shutting
accounts for those seeking freedom."

"Free nations must ensure that corporate interests are not
suborned by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) to aid its
political repression," Pompeo said in a statement. "We stand
ready to help the British government and its companies resist
CCP bullying and stand for freedom."

Representatives for the London-based bank, in an email,
declined to comment.

Washington has criticized Beijing's crackdown against
pro-democracy opposition in the now Chinese-ruled city following
a sweeping new security law imposed on Hong Kong on June 30 that
was widely condemned by Western nations.

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, a prominent democracy
activist and top executive at Next Digital, was arrested Aug. 10
under the new law, further stoking concerns about media and
other freedoms promised to Hong Kong when it returned to China
in 1997.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Lawrence White; editing by Jason
Neely and Steve Orlofsky)

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