Money Laundering

Over 1,100 Arrests by Chinese Police For Crypto-Related Money Laundering

Money Laundering

Following the national directive to crack down on Bitcoin trading, Chinese police arrested over 1,000 people on crypto-related money-laundering charges. This is the fifth round of a nationwide crackdown on money-laundering activities related to telecom fraud in China, dubbed “Operation Card Breaking.”

The latest round targeted people that used cryptocurrencies to assist money-laundering activities, China’s Ministry of Public Security said. They have been cracking down on crypto-related money-laundering crimes across 23 provinces and regions. And they have arrested more than 1100 people and eliminated 170 criminal organizations.

Amid the growing pressure on crypto mining and trading in mainland China, major internet services in the country appear to have censored keywords associated with crypto exchanges. 

Leading internet service providers and search engines including Baidu, Twitter-like Weibo, Quora-like Zhihu and Sogo, have censored keywords associated with Binance, Huobi and OKEx. Searching either the Chinese or English names of the above crypto exchanges shows zero search results. 

This is the first known instance that Baidu, the biggest search engine in mainland China, targets top-tier exchanges serving Chinese crypto traders and censors keywords related to the crypto space.


Binance, Houbi and OKEx Keywords Censored

On Weibo, for example, its mobile app says that “according to the relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results have not been displayed.” Last week, Weibo also blocked more than 25 accounts run by Chinese crypto influencers. 

However, it appears that other crypto exchanges, and terms like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are not censored. This incident comes after the Chinese government expressed concern about the harm cryptocurrency can do to uneducated investors, local financial publication Caixin reported citing government sources.

Additionally, China’s Qinghai province has announced a ban on cryptocurrency mining operations. No more miners will be approved to operate in the province. It is the latest coal mining hub in China to shut down miners, following Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. 

The Qinghai local government said the crackdown order is based on the central government’s concerns about high energy-consuming industries and environmental pollution. It also cited the State Council’s directive to maintain financial stability by cracking down on crypto mining and trading in the country.

Previously, Changji prefecture government in Xinjiang issued a notice to shut down Bitcoin miners in the Zhundong Economic Technological Development Park, a notable bitcoin mining hub in the region. Sichuan, another crypto mining hub, also indicated it may end a local energy policy that has benefited crypto miners in the province.