Chinese banks will be required to report any transactions of more than 1,000 yuan ($150) per day made overseas with Chinese debit or credit cards, said a notice (in Chinese) issued by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) on August 3.
The new rules, originally announced in June, were set to take effect on September 1, but the announcement advanced the effective date by 11 days to enhance the monitoring and management of illegal transactions abroad, according to a SAFE official.
SAFE denied speculation that the new rules were designed to fundamentally change the existing foreign exchange policies, and stated that normal overseas consumption would not be affected. However, that has not calmed the nerves of many Chinese cardholders, who worry about being suspected of financial crimes if they spend too much abroad. Dong Zheng 董峥, editor-in-chief of a personal finance website, told (in Chinese) the People’s Daily that those who make frequent overseas transactions above 1,000 yuan are likely to be closely watched for suspected money laundering.
On the social media platform Weibo, the most upvoted comment reads (in Chinese), “This news pissed me off. Why are they doing this to us? What about that 200 billion yuan [$29.8 billion]?” — an apparent reference to the mysterious stockholder of HNA named “Guan Jun,” who reportedly transferred (in Chinese, or see Bloomberg for English) stocks in his name worth 200 billion yuan to a charity foundation based in New York and HNA’s home province of Hainan Island. Many commenters shared the same view. “Such a giant airline group was handed over to the U.S. Why do you still care about my 1,000 yuan?” one person wrote.
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