[VIDEO] China’s Latest Fashion Trend? Beansprout Hairpins: ‘The Highly Sought Illusion of a Plant Protruding from the Head’

Men, women, grandmothers and children in China are all donning the beansprout hairpin—a barrette that creates the highly sought illusion of a plant protruding from the head. Photo/Video: Menglin Huang/The Wall Street Journal


China: 197 Punished for ‘Online Rumors’

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BEIJING (AP) — People recently punished in China’s campaign against online rumors include those who circulated an inflated death toll in the Tianjin blasts and who alleged a man committed suicide because of the country’s stock market woes, state media reported Monday.

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“Among the rumors circulated were that a ‘man jumped to his death in Beijing due to the stock market slump,’ and that ‘at least 1,300 people were killed in the Tianjin blasts.’ The death toll in the Aug. 12 explosions at warehouses for hazardous chemicals in the port city so far is 150.”

The official Xinhua News Agency said 197 people have been punished in a special campaign, citing the Public Security Ministry, but did not say over what period. Read the rest of this entry »


China Police ‘Summon 11 Over Stock Market Activities’

HKG

Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese police have summoned 11 people including a financial journalist to assist investigations related to illegal stock market activities, state media reported, as the government targets volatility on the exchanges.

The Chinese government launched an unprecedented rescue package as the stock market plummeted 30 percent from mid-June, which included a crackdown on short-selling and funding a state company to buy shares on its behalf.

Authorities have accused a Caijing magazine journalist of allegedly colluding with others to manufacture and spread false information on securities and futures trading, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Tuesday.

The magazine confirmed journalist Wang Xiaolu was subpoenaed by police but defended his actions.

Wang wrote a story in July saying the securities regulator was studying plans for government funds to exit the market. Read the rest of this entry »


Shoddy Chinese-Made Stock Market Collapses

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China’s stock market, a crude knockoff of Western versions, was practically slapped together overnight and featured countless obvious structural weak points.

“Sure, it looked fine from the outside, but anybody who saw it up close knew that it was of such poor quality that it wasn’t built to last.”

SHANGHAI—Proving to be just as flimsy and precarious as many observers had previously warned, the Chinese-made Shanghai Composite index completely collapsed Monday, sources confirmed. Read the rest of this entry »


May You Live In Interesting Times

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The latest drastic step by Beijing is a six-month ban on stock sales by controlling shareholders and executives who own more than 5% of a company’s shares. Any violation of the rule, announced Wednesday night, would be ‘treated seriously’

Shen Hong and Lingling Wei report: Since the last week of June, the Chinese government has intervened in the country’s stock markets nearly every day to stop their steep slide. But the harder NON-STOP-PANIC-EXChinese authorities try, the more it looks like they are losing control.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell 5.9% on Wednesday and is down nearly one-third from its peak on June 12. Since then, $3.5 trillion in value has been erased from companies in the benchmark index—or nearly five times the size of Apple Inc.

China’s bond market and currency also began to get hit Wednesday as worries deepened that a contagion from stock-market losses could further trammel the country’s slowing economy. It felt even more ominous because Chinese officials had rushed out another raft of emergency measures earlier Wednesday to reassure the market.

An investor at a brokerage firm in the Chinese city of Heifi on Wednesday. Individual investors who began selling in mid-June helped unleash a downward spiral of more selling. Photo: Reuters

An investor at a brokerage firm in the Chinese city of Heifi on Wednesday. Individual investors who began selling in mid-June helped unleash a downward spiral of more selling. Photo: Reuters

The moves only heightened what is turning into an epidemic of anxiety among Chinese investors and a crisis of confidence in their leaders. Stocks were volatile early Thursday.

“The more the government intervenes, the more scared I am,” said Li Jun, who runs a fishing and restaurant business in the eastern city of Nanjing. He has spent about 3 million yuan, roughly wsj-chart$500,000, on stocks, using borrowed money for about one-third of the total.

Mr. Li has sold some of his investments every time the market “popped up a little” following a rescue announcement by the Chinese government. “I have no faith” in its ability to halt the losses, he says. Wednesday’s drop left the Shanghai index down 32% from its peak and at its lowest level since March.

The latest drastic step by Beijing is a six-month ban on stock sales by controlling shareholders and executives who own more than 5% of a company’s shares. Any violation of the rule, announced Wednesday night, would be “treated seriously,” China’s securities regulator said.

Early Thursday, China’s central bank said it has provided “ample liquidity” to a company owned by the country’s top securities regulator. The company is lending the funds to securities firms, which then will use the money to buy stocks.

The Chinese government has been praised for driving decades of economic growth and keeping the economy strong during the global financial crisis. In recent years, Chinese authorities have struggled with rising debt levels and the need to reform the economy away from government-driven infrastructure programs and toward consumer spending.

As it fought slower growth and a weakening real-estate market, the government turned its attention to the country’s languishing stock markets.

But Beijing’s inability to stop the recent decline has rattled investors who have long been used to seeing the government use its power to control markets.

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“Beijing’s latest bid to calm the market has had the opposite effect,” said Bernard Aw, market analyst at IG Group. “The panic is spreading, and authorities appear to be grasping at straws to hold back the tide.”

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew played down the possible world-wide impact of China’s stock-market mess, though he expressed worry that it could restrain the country’s longer-term growth if Beijing slows its promised economic overhauls. Read the rest of this entry »


Actual New York Times: ‘Trillions Spent, but Crises Like Greece’s Persist’

DrStrangEyes

This NYT take on Greece’s financial trouble is jaw-dropping