Hong is the Managing Director and Head of Research at BOCOM International, the investment banking division of Bank of Communications, a state-owned bank and China’s fifth largest bank.
“All content is blocked. The user is prohibited from using the account,” the message posted on the WeChat account reads. He added that the account “violated” government internet regulations, without elaborating. It also did not specify which post led to the suspension.
Covid lockdowns have taken a heavy toll on the world’s second largest economy. The latest government survey data, released on Saturday, shows manufacturing and services activity fell to its lowest level since February 2020.
Hong and BOCOM International did not respond to requests for comment regarding the social media suspension. Weibo didn’t respond either.
He is not alone in expressing growing concern about the state of China’s economy and markets.
Chinese regulators have stepped up scrutiny of social media amid growing public discontent over Covid lockdowns in the country.
Chinese tech giants have been suppressing people who speak negatively about the economy since last year. In October, Tencent suspended more than 1,400 WeChat accounts after the government cracked down on online messages it said were hurting the economy.
Tencent said in the reports made bearish statements about financial markets, “misrepresented” the interpretation of economic policy, or spread rumors. Among them was the public account of Chen Guo, chief strategist at Essence Securities in Shenzhen.
Likely trigger for blocking social networks?
It’s not entirely clear which of Hong Hao’s posts caused the latest ban.
The latest reports posted on his public WeChat account were titled “Beware of Capital Flight” and “What Chinese ADRs Should Be Worried About”. ADRs are securities issued Chinese firms are registered in the US.
In another note on March 21, Hong also predicted that the Shanghai Composite would fall below 3,000 points.
China’s stock market this year is the second largest in the world after Russia, according to Refinitiv Eikon.