On Tuesday, United States State Secretary Mike Pompeo criticized HSBC for supporting Beijing's controversial proposal to create a new security law in Hong Kong, warning of the over-dependence of businesses on China.
Last week, the Asia-focused British banking empire made public its support for the law on Chinese social media platform WeChat with a picture of HSBC's top executive in Asia, Peter Wong, signing a petition supporting the action.
Pompeo said the United States was ready to provide Britain with alternatives after China has reportedly threatened to sanction HSBC and break promises to develop the country's power stations unless China's Huawei Technologies is permitted to develop its 5G infrastructure.
In a statement, the US official said the United States stands with its allies and trade partners against China's Communist Party's coercive actions, his latest tirade at the country's ruling coalition.
The intimidation of HSBC by the CCP, Pompeo pointed out, should be considered as a cautionary tale and referred to HSBC's Asia-Pacific chief executive officer Wong signing a petition backing China's new security measure on Hong Kong.
Pompeo also emphasized that the country's aggressive demeanor shows why nations should steer away from establishing any economic over-reliance on Beijing and should protect their key infrastructures from the clutches of the country's ruling party.
He also reiterated his call on other governments to recoil from Chinese telecom company Huawei, which the US claims will hurt personal security if the group is permitted to dominate the development of fifth-generation communications network.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered also disclosed that the new security legislation can "help maintain the long-term economic and social stability in Hong Kong". Both HSBC and Standard Chartered are based in Britain but have a huge market in Asia.
The backing of these global lenders has drawn widespread criticisms: Jacob Rees-Mogg, a British lawmaker and leader of the House of Commons, stated that HSBC may be more closely "aligned with the Chinese government than Her Majesty's government," as reported by EurAsian Times.
Britain's Daily Telegraph on Saturday said that HSBC Chairman Mark Tucker had cautioned the country against a prohibition on networking technology made by Huawei, claiming the group could face backlash in China.
China-US relations have escalated since the beginning of 2020 over the coronavirus pandemic and Hong Kong. The US sees Huawei as extension of China's government and calls on its European partners to exclude the company from engaging in the business of mobile networks.