Tanks seen protecting crisis-hit banks in China, prompting internet to declare “history repeats itself”

22 July, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

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A long line of tanks prevents locals from reaching the bank branch in the video clip from Henan.

A video of tanks lined up on a Chinese road shocked the internet. According to Reddit users, the footage is from Rizhao, Shandong Province, and the tanks were deployed to protect the local branch of a bank embroiled in a scandal. The problem first came to light in April, when the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that residents of Henan and Anhui provinces were denied access to their bank accounts due to a “system upgrade.”

Deposits at Yuzhou Xinminsheng Village Bank, Shangcai Huimin County Bank, Zhecheng Huanghuai Community Bank, and New Oriental Country Bank of Kaifeng in Henan province, as well as Guzhen Xinhuaihe Village Bank in neighbouring Anhui province, have been affected since then, according to SCMP.

A long line of tanks prevents locals from reaching the bank branch in the video clip from Henan. The tank queue can be seen covering the entire block as the camera pans.

The residents appear agitated, but they are forced to wait due to the presence of the armoured vehicles. Users on Reddit compare the scene to the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, in which hundreds of tanks were used to crush pro-democracy protests.

“Tiananmen Square 2: electric boogaloo,” one user remarked. “Something… anything… History tends to repeat itself “another person said

“I wonder what will happen if the tank operators are unable to withdraw their funds as well,” a third user speculated.

Locals affected by China’s banking crisis, one of the worst in recent years, claim 40 billion yuan (US $6 billion) in deposits have vanished and have been protesting for access to their savings.

They were told to “wait patiently,” according to a report released by the SCMP on Monday. Some recipients of less than 50,000 yuan (US $7,400) received their funds last week, while others are still waiting.

The banks at the centre of the controversy, according to Chinese authorities, were taken over by Henan Xincaifu Group through “internal and external collusion” and “illegally” attracted depositors. An investigation into the banking scandal is currently underway.