Over 1,000 Chinese protesters stormed Zhengzhou, a city in China’s central province Henan, on Sunday to express their disapproval of the fund freeze carried out by local banks, and also retrieve their funds, Reuters reported.
In April, at least three Chinese-based banks abruptly halted the funds of depositors, reportedly worth about $1.5 billion. These banks included the Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank, the Yu Zhou Xin Minsheng Village Bank, and the Shangcai Huimin County Bank.
According to the report, the banks claimed that they were “upgrading their internal systems.” But since then, users have not received any updates as to the whereabouts of their funds.
The rowdy protest on Sunday resulted in severe conflict with Chinese security officials, who manhandled angry protesters, injuring and beating some in the process.
According to Zhang, one of the protesters who claimed to have about $25,000 worth of funds in the custody of one of the banks, protesters were forcefully conveyed through a vehicle away from the scene by the officials.
“They did not say they would beat us if we refused to leave. They just used the loudspeaker to say that we were breaking the law by petitioning. That’s ridiculous. It’s the banks that are breaking the law,” Zhang said.
While the banks in question are yet to release users’ funds or come up with a new statement to inform users about the condition of their funds, the report revealed that the authorities are currently investigating the matter.
Earlier in June, the affected depositors had planned a protest targeted at retrieving their frozen funds, but their plan was delayed by the COVID-19, which limited the ease of traveling across China.
Bitcoin – A Better Solution?
The Chinese government has a long history of banning the use of Bitcoin in the country. With the support of top agencies such as the Bank of China, the government has continued to uphold its ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in the country. This has resulted in a lack of access to many crypto-based services.
The latest incident with the aforementioned Chinese banks halting users from accessing their funds only shows the harm that can result from a centralized banking system.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, is renowned for its decentralization, which entails that users can have continuous access to their funds, especially when using non-custodial wallets.
Despite the volatility in the price of Bitcoin, it still promises to be a fitting solution to the limitations of centralized financial institutions. While Bitcoin is affected by the ongoing crypto winter, its price still continues to maintain a 20k mark. At the time of writing, 1BTC traded for around $19,500.
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