19 November 2019
PBoC official Guo Jianwei says Hong Kong should its status as an offshore renminbi market. Photo: TVB, HKEJ, Bloomberg
PBoC official Guo Jianwei says Hong Kong should its status as an offshore renminbi market. Photo: TVB, HKEJ, Bloomberg

China economic brass: ‘Occupy’ threat to HK renminbi hub role

Hong Kong’s role as an offshore renminbi center is at risk from a planned civil disobedience campaign by Occupy Central, according to a TVB report on Wednesday, citing China’s top economic authorities.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) and the Ministry of Finance implied such a threat to Hong Kong’s status as a hub for the Chinese unit during briefings on China’s policy on Hong Kong under “one country, two systems” the report said.

The briefings were held in Beijing with China-based correspondents of Hong Kong news media, a rare attempt to woo the public to embrace the policy spelled out in a white paper issued last month by the State Council.  

Hong Kong people have rejected the document and dramatized their opposition to it during a massive July 1 rally marking Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty.     

“Hong Kong accounts for 53 percent of the offshore renminbi market around the world. This is a growing pie and Hong Kong has to treasure it. But if it doesn’t want to eat it, that’s Hong Kong’s own business,” said Guo Jianwei, deputy director of the PBoC monetary policy division.

Zhu Jun, the central bank’s deputy director general of the international department, said if Occupy Central evolves into such a scale that it gets out of control, Hong Kong will be affected the most.

The comments came a day after a group of students staged a sit-in in Central in a prelude to a planned civil disobedience action by Occupy Central.

The student organizers said the Occupy Central sit-in protest will take place in August.

Sun Xiaoxia, a director in the finance ministry, said the offshore renminbi market is open and competitive and Hong Kong is not the only player in it.

Hong Kong has the central government’s support but authorities have to see whether the Hong Kong government can provide a stable and prosperous financial environment, she said.

The officials also emphasized the mainland’s contribution to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability after the handover. This included 96 billion yuan (US$15.45 billion) of treasury notes issued in Hong Kong seven times in six consecutive years.

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EJ Insight reporter