US officials blast HSBC over Hong Kong clampdown

US officials have attacked HSBC for its treatment of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and accused China of ‘bullying’ the bank. 

Donald Trump’s chief foreign affairs adviser, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, alleged the lender was maintaining bank accounts for sanctioned officials but cutting off those ‘seeking freedom’. 

It is the latest salvo in a row that has caught HSBC between the world’s greatest superpowers. 

Under fire: Mike Pompeo, alleged the lender was maintaining bank accounts for sanctioned officials but cutting off those 'seeking freedom'

Under fire: Mike Pompeo, alleged the lender was maintaining bank accounts for sanctioned officials but cutting off those 'seeking freedom'

Under fire: Mike Pompeo, alleged the lender was maintaining bank accounts for sanctioned officials but cutting off those ‘seeking freedom’

The lender is under scrutiny after backing a security law imposed on Hong Kong by China. In response, the US has issued sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials. 

While HSBC makes most of its money in Asia, it has a significant presence in the US and provides a lot of the financial plumbing between the East and the West. 

Pompeo said HSBC was ‘maintaining accounts for individuals sanctioned for denying freedom for Hong Kongers, while shutting accounts for those seeking freedom.’ 

He added: ‘Free nations must ensure that corporate interests are not suborned by the Chinese Communist Party to aid its political repression.’

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