The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) will continue to apply strict measures on virtual currencies as part of its strategy for protecting and strengthening the yuan (RMB), according to a statement published March 29 on the bank’s website.

At the 2018 national video conference dedicated to the achievements and major challenges facing the Chinese monetary system, the deputy governor of the PBoC Fan Yifei outlined objectives in protecting the yuan.

While Fan supported the development of a government regulated digital currency, noting that one objective is, “…to further intensify reform and innovation, solidly promote the R&D of the central bank’s digital currency”, he reiterated the importance of protecting the yuan against unofficial virtual currencies.

“[One objective] is to strictly strengthen internal management and external supervision, attach great importance to and effectively strengthen the quality control of RMB... and carry out rectification of various types of virtual currencies.”

While no specific policies against crypto, digital, or virtual currencies were offered in the statement, the position taken by Fan and the PBoC is indicative of the currently strict policy of the Chinese government on decentralized forms of payment.

China has taken a series of steps against digital currency trading, adding both foreign and domestic digital asset trading platforms to its Great Firewall, banning initial coin offerings (ICO) and cryptocurrency-related websites, as well as freezing numerous accounts of cryptocurrency exchanges. As a result of these hardline policies, traders have fled to other markets with softer regulations toward cryptocurrencies, like Hong Kong and Japan.