The Good Neighbour North District Church offered humanitarian aid to protesters in the street. Now banking giant HSBC is trying to put it out of business.
by Marco Respinti
In 2019, while Hong Kong protestors clashed with the police, Pastor Roy Chan became a legend. His Good Neighbour North District Church organized “Safeguard the Volunteers,” a group that took to the streets and tried to prevent violence from erupting, Wearing yellow vests, they positioned themselves in teams of seven between the protesters and the police, and tried to mediate, without taking political positions, except that “Hongkongers should not hurt other Hongkongers.”
Some of them were senior citizens. They formed human chains, trying to keep the protesters and the police apart. They did not move, even when the police fired tear gas, and dealt with the agents with respect and courtesy. Even the BBC covered their activity.
This is not the only good work of Pastor Chan’s church. In 2014, the church started a Hostel for the Homeless, which provided 30 free hostel places in North Districts, Yuen Long, and Kwun Tong, serving more than 70 guests. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong Social Welfare Department approached the church to provide accommodation for homeless at risk.
On December 7, Pastor Chan discovered that the accounts of his church, himself, and his wife had been frozen by HSBC, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Corporation, “without any prior notification nor justification provided,” as the church wrote on Facebook.
HSBC, established in Hong Kong but headquartered in London, is the largest European bank and, the 6th largest bank in the world. In June, ending HSBC’s long-standing policy of political neutrality, its deputy chairman and chief executive Peter Wong publicly supported the new National Security Law.
This led to protests against HSBC in Hong Kong, but was not surprising. Hong is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a key component of the CCP’s United Front system. Bitter Winter has also received reports about HSBC’s and Hong’s involvement in lobbying efforts in Washington D.C., aimed at defusing possible U.S. reactions to the events in Hong Kong.