Social media users have criticized China’s reported use of military tanks to intimidate bank customers protesting the freezing of their savings. Some users have claimed that the deployment of military tanks exposes the country’s underlying economic problems. Crypto proponents see the issue as vindication of their longstanding argument.
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Some social media users have derided the reported decision by Chinese authorities to deploy tanks around the central bank offices in Henan, where bank customers are protesting the freezing of their savings. The tank deployment follows reports that Henan province’s central bank told protesting customers that their savings were now for investment purposes. This meant that affected bank customers could not withdraw their savings.
In some of videos, which have since gone viral on Twitter, military tanks are seen driving in and around the area believed to be the Bank of China offices. The deployment of the tanks comes less than two weeks after Bitcoin.com News reported that angry bank customers had fought with security guards protecting the premises of the Bank of China.
Still, some Twitter users questioned claims that the videos, which were posted on July 20, were shot in Henan. A user, Angelo Guiliano, insisted the video was actually shot in the city of Rizhou in Shandong Province, more than 440 kilometers away.
Invoking the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests
Still, doubts about where the video was shot didn’t stop it from going viral and sparking a backlash from Twitter users. According to reports, the deployment of tanks has led to speculation that Chinese authorities may be trying to appease angry customers by reminding them that the government will brutally crush protests as it did in 1989. At that time, a student-led protest against corruption, inflation and the country’s political system triggered a backlash from the government which responded by sending armed troops to Tiananmen Square where protesters had gathered.
The deployment of the tanks, along with footage of a tank running over a protester, is believed to have ultimately helped end the month-long and nearly three-week protests. Thousands of protesters are said to have died during the Tiananmen protests and others were injured.
According to a report per The Print, the deployment of tanks is intended to intimidate protesting bank customers, some of whom are seen in another video shoving security guards stationed at Bank of China premises and pelting them with bottles of water. Mainstream Chinese media did not report on the alleged tank deployment.
Social media users find a loophole in the country’s economic system
On social media, some users have suggested that authorities using bullying tactics point to much bigger underlying economic problems.
Responding to a tweet from Wall Street Silver in which a video of the tanks is shared, another user, Chelsea Dan, criticized China’s economic system. The user said:
“Communism everywhere and to think that some people in this country support it.”
Others, like Matt Edgeley, said Henan’s problems are a signal that the “Chinese real estate bubble is about to burst”. The user warned that “there will be blood on [the] streets soon.
However, others like Twitter user Eddie Gahan have argued that the problem may have nothing to do with communism itself. In a tweet, Gahan said:
“In fact, it was capitalism that caused this. Banks have been over lending to property developers and with the new ‘three red lines’ rules many developers are defaulting.
For cryptocurrency advocates, China’s use of military force to deter aggrieved bank customers from claiming their own funds vindicates their case for a decentralized financial system.
Using the tank rollout to highlight the importance of a decentralized currency, a Twitter user named Shivamadan exclaimed, “That’s exactly why crypto matters.”
The Chinese housing bubble
Meanwhile, allegations of Chinese tank deployments have coincided with reports of a rise in the number of homebuyers in the country who have halted loan repayments. According to a CNBC report, defaulting buyers are protesting construction delays. Some analysts quoted in the report believe that if the problem is not fixed, it could prompt other buyers to stop refunds as well.
More defaulting customers would put a strain on the cash flow of highly indebted Chinese developers, which, in turn, could lead to more delays and more abandoned projects, the report adds.
While some, like Dai Xianglong, the former head of China’s central bank, have suggested China won’t experience anything like the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States, state-backed media, Securities Times, warned the risk of a wider crisis exists.
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