HSBC, StanChart back China's Hong Kong security law

Major banks HSBC and Standard Chartered backed China's new national security law for Hong Kong on Wednesday (June 3), in a break from their usual policy of political neutrality.

The law was advanced by Chinese authorities last month, aiming to tackle terrorism, foreign interference, secession and subversion in Hong Kong.

It could also see Chinese intelligence agencies set up shop in the city.

HSBC first announced on a social media post in China that it quote "respects and supports all laws that stabilise Hong Kong's social order."

And Standard Chartered later followed suit, saying it believed the law can quote "help maintain the long term economic and social stability of Hong Kong."

However, the law sparked Hong Kong's largest anti-government protests in months.

And Western human rights groups were critical of HSBC's announcement.

The bank originated in Hong Kong, which is still its biggest market, but it has now invested billions of dollars in China.

An HSBC spokeswoman based in Hong Kong declined to comment beyond what was said in the social media post.

HSBC has previously avoided weighing in on the city's political situation, while facing increased calls from Chinese state media to make its position clear.

The bank had already been caught up in Hong Kong's protests before, with its branches vandalized during protests on New Year's Day.

Some protesters accused the bank of being complicit in actions taken by authorities against activists who were trying to raise money to support protesters.

HSBC has denied those accusations.