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After seven Russian banks were banned from SWIFT following the invasion of Ukraine, China is hoping its own Cross-border Interbank Payment System, CIPS, will be enough to weather potential future sanctions from the West.    © Photo illustration by Michael Tsang
The Big Story

China scrambles for cover from West's financial weapons

Spooked by sanctions on Russia, Beijing looks to build on its own international payments system

CISSY ZHOU, Nikkei staff writer | China

HONG KONG -- The Western-led freeze on half of Russia's gold and foreign exchange reserves after its invasion of Ukraine came as a shock to Moscow -- and an unwelcome surprise to Beijing. The move underscored a brutal truth for China, the world's largest holder of foreign reserves: One day, its international assets could be a tempting target, too.

Despite previous U.S. sanctions on dozens of Chinese corporations including Huawei and ZTE, Chinese policy advisers never believed Washington would go so far as to weaponize the entire world's financial system.

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