Chinese netizens are questioning whether the Covid health pass was being used as a tool to prevent many depositors from withdrawing their money from many rural banks in China.

On Monday, June 13, a large number of depositors reported that their health code changed from the original “green code” to a “red code” after scanning the code in Henan province. Many of them also got “red codes” for high-speed rail, which means they could not use it. So far, in China Henan rural bank allegedly is the only bank to have a so-called “depositor code.”

Health Code in itself is a location tracking app used in China during the 2019 COVID-19 epidemic. The health code is used as a personal electronic passport. After scanning the code, one can know the health status of the holder. It is used as a pass to enter and exit public places.

Previously, many depositors in multiple areas across China have decided to go to Zhengzhou in Henan province on Monday, June 13, to find the relevant departments to discuss their difficulty in withdrawing money. But their health code turned red after they registered to go to Zhengzhou for this purpose. Some depositors’ health codes turned red long before they had a chance to set foot in Zhengzhou. They said that they are “remotely assigned red codes.” 

It is worth mentioning that many non-depositors who traveled with depositors were indeed not assigned red codes.

One depositor who arrived in Zhengzhou by plane said that although he got a “red code”, a non-depositor who traveled with him has always maintained a “green code”. The depositor has been banned from going to Zhengzhou, while his travel mate can still move freely.

Also on Tuesday morning, in a group chat gathering various village bank depositors, hundreds of residents from big cities like Beijing, Chengdu, Shijiazhuang, Suzhou, Hunan Loudi, Shandong Liaocheng, and other places across the country also said they had faced a similar situation.

There are opinions that this epidemic prevention code has been used to restrict the normal activities of depositors going to Zhengzhou petitioning for help. 

Previously, in April, the six village and town banks in Henan and Anhui successively issued notices saying that online banking and mobile banking services were suspended due to “system upgrades”.

At the same time, some depositors said one after another that their deposits could not be withdrawn. And their account was frozen without notice.

Also in April, the technology service provider of four village banks said the number of deposits involved could reach billions of dollars. And it involves nearly one million customers.

As the village bank case continued to heat up, depositors are paying more attention to the shareholders behind the four village banks, including Henan New Fortune Group, and Xuchang Rural Commercial Bank, among others. 

According to the revelation by China’s financial regulatory authorities, Henan New Fortune Group absorbed public funds through internal and external collusion, the use of third-party platforms, and fund brokers. The transfer of funds involved in the case amounted to almost 6 billion dollars. For now, the police have opened an investigation. But no further information on the investigation has been updated.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.