China’s stock market slide prompts nearly 200 arrests

Investigation led to many prominent figures being arrested for online rumour-mongering

The dramatic sell-off in Chinese stocks caused turmoil in markets. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The dramatic sell-off in Chinese stocks caused turmoil in markets. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

 

Possibly one of the more alarming repercussions after China’s stock market slide was the arrest of nearly 200 people for online rumour-mongering, as well as other forms of financial wrongdoing.

Wang Xiaolu, a financial journalist from the influential Chinese magazine Caijing, apologised on national television for his reports on the crisis, which authorities said “caused panic, misled the public and resulted in disorders in stock market or society among investors” – which appears to be a charge that could possibly be levelled at most reporters in the West covering a market undergoing a serious sell-off.

The investigation into market manipulation comes after some dizzying swings in the equity markets, with the key indices shedding about 40 per cent since mid-June on fears of slower growth in the world’s second largest economy, plus a surprise devaluation of the yuan currency.

Senior figures from Citic Bank were among those “helping with inquiries”, and Li Yifei, China’s head of hedge fund company Man Group – that of the Man Booker prize – was also taken into custody to assist with a police investigation into market volatility.

While the investigation doesn’t mean she is facing charges or has done anything wrong, Ms Li is one of China’s most powerful businesswomen and also famous for her connections.

Previously, Ms Li was head of MTV China and was country representative for Viacom, MTV’s parent company.

She was also listed in the Wall Street Journal’s Asian edition’s “Ten Women To Watch in Asia”.

She also won a national martial arts competition when she was 13 years old and went on to act in one of China’s first action movies, according to Xinhua news agency.

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