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June 27, 2022
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London | Wimbledon urged to drop HSBC over its support for Hong Kong oppression

According to reports, MPs are urging Wimbledon to cut its ties with HSBC for failing to condemn China, claiming the tournament’s banking partner is ‘complicit in oppression and human rights abuses’.

Even as daily reports of fresh arrests, intimidation and incarceration demonstrate the NSL’s systematic attack on democracy, HSBC have continued to expand their operations in Hong Kong and China. All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong statement

For the second year in a row, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong has written to Sally Bolton, Wimbledon’s Chief Executive, asking the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC), the tournament’s organisers, to reconsider HSBC as a sponsor over the bank’s public support for a controversial national security law (NSL) adopted for the city by Beijing two years ago.

“In the years following the 2019 protests, HSBC have made no effort to stand up for the human rights, and principles of freedom and democracy which they benefit from as a UK headquartered bank,” the MPs stated in their letter.

“Even as daily reports of fresh arrests, intimidation and incarceration demonstrate the NSL’s systematic attack on democracy, HSBC have continued to expand their operations in Hong Kong and China.”

HSBC

HSBC, which also sponsors British No 1 Emma Raducanu, declined to comment on Monday, while Wimbledon officials said they had recently received the letter and ‘will be responding to them in due course’.

The London Stock Exchange-listed bank, which has £2.5trillion in assets across 64 countries, makes most of its money in Hong Kong, and has been the Official Banking Partner of The Championships at Wimbledon since 2008.

HSBC has supported the Ticket Resale Scheme since 2010 and generated £1.8m, with every ticket re-sold helping charities through the Wimbledon Foundation, enabling increased opportunities for local communities and next generation of tennis players.

The MPs’ letter also said: “This year, when 1st July is the 25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China, we must show Hongkongers that they are not alone, that those who support their oppression will not benefit from doing so,” The Telegraph reported.

It seems Ms Bolton is in favour of ending the partnership, lobbying her colleagues at the AELTC to do so.

“The AELTC encapsulates some of the very best of Wimbledon’s values of integrity and respect,” her letter said. “To receive financial support from a bank which profits from human rights abuses is a stain on that exemplary reputation.”

HSBC cashpoints in Hong Kong were targeted by pro-democracy protesters after the bank spoke in favour of legislation to bring the self-governed city under Chinese control.

The controversial bill passed in 2021 after mass demonstrations allowed for closed-room court cases, whille other contentious features include a new Chinese law enforcement agency in Hong Kong accountable only to Beijing.

Chinese law also now takes priority over Hong Kong law where the two clash.

Signatories of the MPs’ letter included Labour member for nearby Mitcham and Morden Siobhan McDonagh and ex-Green Party leader Baroness Bennett.

Wimbledon resisted calls to end its lucrative sponsorship deal with the bank after campaigners spoke out against its ties to the Hong Kong security law last year.

HSBC announced a 4-year sponsorship deal with Emma Raducanu last week

HSBC

Meanwhile, HSBC recently unveiled a new sponsorship deal with 19-year old Raducanu, the World No 11, that will run for 4 years and sees her acting as the bank’s ambassador.

When Raducanu was just 12, she won the ‘HSBC Road To Wimbledon’ South-East Regional Qualifier at the West Worthing Tennis and Squash Club.

“To partner with HSBC is so natural for me having grown up playing in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon and having been a customer for many years,” the British No 1 said in the release. “If I wasn’t a tennis player, I would definitely want to work in finance so I’m excited to learn more about the industry in the years to come.

“We are working on some really cool ideas and I’m particularly looking forward to working on initiatives that help young people such as financial education but watch this space!”

Raducanu was mentored by HSBC ambassador and former men’s British No 1 Tim Henman, and went on to win the US Open last year, in which she became the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam without dropping a set.

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