HSBC posted a photo on Chinese social media showing Asia Pacific CEO Peter Wong signing a petition supporting the law’s implementation. HSBC’s London press office confirmed the authenticity of the post.
HSBC is headquartered in London, but was founded in Hong Kong and has a major business presence in China. The bank’s statement comes nearly a week after former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying blasted HSBC for its silence.
Hong Kong and China are by far HSBC’s biggest moneymakers. Last year, the divisions pulled in enough money to wipe out losses in the United Kingdom and keep the company profitable.
Fellow UK-based lender Standard Chartered also weighed in on Wednesday, saying in a statement that China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong “can help maintain the long-term economic and social stability” of the city.
The law also would enable Chinese national security organs to operate in the city “to fulfill relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law.”
Even so, HSBC and Standard Chartered are among a growing list of top businesses in Hong Kong that have come out in a show of support for the contentious legislation.
Jardine Matheson, one of Hong Kong’s oldest British trading houses, issued a full-page advertisement on Wednesday in pro-Beijing newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po, which have strong ties to the Chinese government.
“Establishing the legal framework that upholds national security is very important. It ensures that Hong Kong continues to attract investment, enhance employment opportunities and protect people’s livelihood,” the company said.
Swire said that “the enactment of national security legislation will be beneficial for the long-term future of Hong Kong as a world-leading business and financial centre.”
“It is within each and every nation’s [sovereign] right to address its national security concerns,” Li, of CK Hutchison, said in a statement issued last week.
“Meanwhile, [Hong Kong] has the mission-critical task to fortify its citizens’ faith and maintain international trust in the constitutional principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems,'” he added.
— Alexandra Lin contributed to this report.