Illustration: U.S. Court Goes Way too Far to Get Respect on Case of BoC by People's Daily
A U.S. judge in Manhattan, New York, has held Bank of China (BoC) Ltd. in contempt for refusing to turn over its customers’ account information on November 14, 2015.
This case originated from a lawsuit that involves several Chinese entities who were sued by subsidiaries of luxury brands such as Gucci Group, Bottega Veneta, and Yves Saint Laurent in 2010. The Chinese entities were accused of selling counterfeit luxury goods in America. In order to seek deposit records of the alleged counterfeit sellers, the Manhattan district court subpoenaed Bank of China to turn over the bank accounts information of these sellers.
Wait a minute. Note here that Bank of China has nothing to do with the lawsuit. The bank customers, whose account information the U.S. court wanted, are customers in China. And Bank of China is located within China’s territory. They have no relations with the United States whatsoever. To hand over customer’s information is to violate the privacy and information security law in China. It is common sense that Bank of China rejected the request.
In civil disputes of cases such as this, defendants are still bank’s ordinary customers as long as they have not yet been convicted. Therefore, their privacy should be protected. This is the foremost, basic protection that any banks in the world are expected to have for their customers. Needless to say, why should a Chinese bank, a finance institution in China, accept an American court’s request?
That Bank of China has branches in the United States is what makes the U.S. court think it can hand down whatever orders it likes. What’s more absurd is that the court even claimed that it will impose a penalty of $12 million on Bank of China.
Now, before the court proceeds, it is necessary that the U.S. judicial system to step back and set its mind straight. Don’t forget that there are also U.S. banks operating in China, and they, these foreign branches in China, need to rely on China. Everything mirrors. What would happen if similar cases happened in China? If a Chinese court required a U.S. bank to disclose its customers’ information, would the bank submit? If not, would the U.S. bank accept the penalty imposed on it by a Chinese court?
Americans always believe they are the police officers of the world: They boast their military forces while riding on a high horse in diplomacy. The claimed penalty handed down by the Manhattan district court is just another fact that signifies Americans’ arrogance and ignorance. It believes it can cross the line. What they are doing is just a demonstration of their contempt of other countries’ sovereignty. Since the U.S. judicial system does not embrace the least knowledge of respecting the basic principles of other countries’ sovereignty, let it be held in contempt by Bank of China.