According to Reuters, on Monday, Henan province authorities promised to pay back money to those who had their deposit accounts frozen. Officials said they did this on behalf of rural banks. 

They made the promise to ease protests from depositors who have repeatedly demanded their money back over the last couple of months, starting in late April. 

The Henan local banking and insurance watchdog and financial regulatory bureau stated that payments would be made in batches and begin on July 15.  

Over the weekend, about 3,000 depositors gathered in front of the provincial branch of the China central bank in Henan to protest, demanding their money back.

Thousands of uniformed and plainclothes police reportedly rushed into the demonstration site and clashed with demonstrators, causing chaos like a battlefield.

In late April, some Henan rural and urban banks suddenly froze customers’ deposits without warning. As a result, about 400,000 customers with total deposits of $6 billion could not withdraw their money, triggering protests.

Depositors have been protesting for their rights to retrieve their money since then. However, they have constantly suffered oppression from local police and unknown forces. Authorities even used anti-epidemic measures to turn the mobile phones of depositors into false red codes to restrict their travel.

Back in May, after the incident and ongoing protests from depositors, the central bank and the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said that a shareholder of the four village banks in Henan—New Fortune Group—illegally absorbed public funds through internal and external collaboration, using third-party platforms and fund brokers. 

The officials back then promised depositors’ money “are protected by law” and opened an investigation into the incident. 

At the time, depositors raised their doubts about the authorities handling the incident, accusing relevant agencies of avoiding their responsibilities in the problem.

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