April 19, 2021

The Chinese community demonstrates against blocking their bank accounts

The Chinese community demonstrates against blocking their bank accounts


Hundreds of Chinese citizens living in Spain have demonstrated today in front of the headquarters of the BBVA Foundation in Madrid to demand the urgent unblocking of their bank accounts, immobilized for not having provided the documentation required by the law on the prevention of money laundering. Paco Qian, president of Vision Spain China and the main spokesperson for the protest, said that there is discrimination against the Asian customers by the bank, since if the documents are provided by "a foreigner who is not Chinese, the accounts are unblocked. next day". Qian lamented BBVA's negligence, which would have frozen those accounts for a long period of time and would have only managed to unravel the situation after today's demonstration. From their point of view, the conflict would have a racist background, since some citizens from the Asian giant would have been told that the service was not available "to the Chinese". The vice president of the Chinese Merchants Association in our country, Yingwei Chen, has demanded that the accounts "in 48 hours" be unblocked to all Chinese citizens and that they have "the same rights as any Spaniard" in their relationship with banks.

The incident with the accounts would have its origin in the Chinese New Year, celebrated on 5 February. That day there was a massive blockade of accounts that created "great discomfort in the Chinese community," according to the director of the China FM radio station, Dawei Ding. The three spokesmen have agreed that there are about 4,000 citizens of Asian origin affected by the blockade. "Ordinary" people that range from students who depend on their families' money to retirees who can not collect their pension, going through people who depend on said account to pay the water or electricity bill.

In response to these accusations, José Luis Martínez Campuzano, spokesperson of the Spanish Association of Banking (AEB), recalled that the Money Laundering Prevention Law is a normal process that requires financial institutions to impose a series of requirements for "all your customers" with "independence of your nationality". Users of the service must provide their bank with the relevant documents so that, thereafter, the company proceeds to the processing, which entails a required delay for the verification of the information provided.

Álvaro Calleja, representative of BBVA, lamented "deeply" the damage caused to the group. Then, he stressed that this situation also affects the bank, which has "all the necessary measures" in place to resolve the conflict. However, it has argued that the blockade of the accounts is not a decision of its own, but a legal obligation punished with serious economic sanctions, for which BBVA complies "with the provisions of the regulations" pertaining to money laundering.

During the protest, the vice president of the Association of Chinese merchants in Spain, Yingwei Chen, has demanded that the accounts be unlocked "in 48 hours" to all Chinese citizens and that these "have the same rights as any Spanish" in their relationship with the banks.

"We have massively blocked the accounts without any reason, with the only excuse that they are orders from above. We have not received any page where they tell us in writing why they are blocking our account. It is simply because of our Chinese nationality, "said Yingwei Chen.

The director of the China FM radio station, Dawei Ding, said that coinciding with the Chinese New Year, On the 5th day, there was a massive blockade of accounts "creating a malaise in the Chinese community."

"A lot of people are normal, people who are using that account to collect their payroll and pay their daily expenses, retirees who can not collect their pension, or students who can not use the money their parents send them to live. the people who are suffering the most, "he assured.

ManYee Lam is a real estate consultant, she has been in Spain for more than 50 years and has an account with BBVA since she was 18 years old, as well as keeping accounts of her company through this entity, and also sees a racist attitude in the blocking of accounts.

"They deny that it is because of racial origin. There are more than 4,000 accounts of Chinese people blocked. People who have to pay for water, electricity, gas, food, and they have to depend on people helping them because they can not get money. Chinese social networks are echoing this problem, and Chinese investors are retreating, "he told Efe.

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