Investors hold loud protest in heart of Beijing – China’s latest political and current affairs news

Politics

A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for July 24, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks during a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. North Korea’s claim to have conducted its first hydrogen bomb test acts is seen by key ally China as yet another act of defiance, raising the likelihood that Beijing will endorse new United Nations sanctions and possibly enforce unilateral trade restrictions. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Hundreds — or, judging by videos of the event, thousands — of investors in a troubled company called Shanxinhui (善心汇 shànxīnhuì; lit. “kindhearted exchange”) held an energetic protest on July 24 near Yongdingmen, the location of a gate through Beijing’s demolished city walls due south of the Forbidden City and mere miles from Tiananmen Square. The New York Times has a report (paywall) on the event, and Reuters notes that authorities quickly shut down the road with the protests soon after they started. See here for more videos of the event, or this Chinese language blog post by some of the protestors.

Why are they protesting?

  • The protest was triggered by the arrest of Shanxinhui’s chairman, Zhang Tianming 张天明, and freezing of the company’s funds. The authorities have accused Zhang of defrauding investors in a pyramid scheme.
  • Investors disagree. Many insist that Zhang is honorable, and say that they appreciate the company’s stated purpose of acting as both a charity and an investment program.
  • Protests happen frequently throughout China, primarily over environmental, land-use, and local corruption issues, but the Shanxinhui protests were unusual and significant both for their central location and the relatively affluent nature of the crowd.