Hong Kong’s Two British Banks Back Beijing in Security Law Fight
The flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, right, flies alongside the flag of China outside the Exchange Square complex, in Hong Kong, China. (Photographer: Lam Yik/Bloomberg)

Hong Kong’s Two British Banks Back Beijing in Security Law Fight

(Bloomberg) -- Standard Chartered Plc became the second U.K. bank in a day to endorse China’s proposed security law for Hong Kong, saying it can “help maintain the long-term economic and social stability” of the former British colony, one of its key hubs.

“The ‘one country, two systems’ principle is core to the future success of Hong Kong and has always been the bedrock of business community’s confidence,” Standard Chartered said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “We hope greater clarity on the final legislative provisions will enable Hong Kong to maintain economic and social stability.”

Earlier in the day, HSBC Holdings Plc’s top executive in Asia came out in support of China’s proposed security law, which has yet to be drafted but will likely cast doubt on whether Hong Kong still has the high degree of autonomy and independent judiciary promised before the British handed their colony back to Chinese control in 1997. Like HSBC, StanChart has a London head office but generates most of its earnings in Asia.

The British government has backed its former colony. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will give as many as three million Hong Kong residents the chance to seek refuge and a new life in the U.K. if China presses ahead.

StanChart makes more than a quarter of its revenue from Hong Kong, and like HSBC, its shares are traded on the Hong Kong exchange as well as in London. StanChart derived about 68% of its 2019 revenues from Asia, an even higher proportion than HSBC.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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