HSBC's top executive in Asia has signed a petition backing China's imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong, an online bank post said on Wednesday, in the strongest show yet of support for Beijing by a major global bank.
FILE PHOTO: A logo of HSBC is displayed at a tram station outside its headquarters building in Hong Kong, China February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo
Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Peter Wong signed the petition, the bank said in the social media post, adding that HSBC itself "respects and supports all laws that stabilize Hong Kong's social order".
The UK-headquartered but China-focused lender has not weighed in on the political situation in the former British colony in recent months, but has face increasing calls in Chinese state media to make its position clear.
A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the bank declined to comment beyond the contents of the post.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of freedoms, such as an independent legal system and right to protest, not enjoyed on the mainland. The city was rocked by months of sometimes violent pro-democracy, anti-China unrest last year by protesters fearing an erosion of those freedoms by Communist Party rulers in Beijing.
China denies the accusation and accuses the West of stirring up trouble.
The bank's statement came as tensions rise between London and Beijing after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK would not walk away from the people of Hong Kong if China imposed the national security law.
Wong hoped the legislation could bring long-term stability and prosperity to Hong Kong, he told China's official Xinhua news agency in an interview published on Wednesday.
Jardines Group, one of Hong Kong's original foreign trading houses, published a full-page statement in the pro-Beijing newspaper, Ta Kung Pao, saying it was important to enact a legal framework to safeguard the city's national security.
"It can ensure that Hong Kong continues to absorb investment, increase job opportunities and guarantee people's livelihood," Jardines said in the statement.
The group's flagship company, Jardine Matheson Holdings, is listed in Singapore.