Tue, Feb 13, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Chinese investors vent on US embassy Weibo account

Bloomberg

Chinese investors flooded a social media account of the US embassy in Beijing with complaints about stock losses after the country’s equities suffered their steepest weekly plunge in two years.

The embassy yesterday said its Sina Weibo account received more than 10,000 comments about the Chinese stock market.

It deleted several comments that violated its terms of use, but did not turn off the comments section for any post, the embassy said in a statement.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission had prevented people from remarking on its own Weibo account last week.

Some of the most popular comments contained expletives directed at Liu Shiyu (劉士餘), who took over as chairman of the securities regulator in February 2016 in the wake of a US$5 trillion rout and drove volatility to the lowest in decades.

MARKET ROUT

The online uproar followed the Shanghai Composite Index’s 9.6 percent tumble last week, the most since January 2016, amid a global selloff.

The benchmark yesterday rose 0.8 percent as turnover slumped before the start of the Lunar New Year holiday.

“Mr Ambassador, is Liu Shiyu your undercover agent in the Chinese government? This guy succeeded in pushing hundreds of millions of Chinese investors to the opposite side of the [Chinese] Communist Party and government,” one anonymous user said on the US embassy account.

US BLAMED

Some of those commenting on the embassy’s account blamed the US for spurring the stock declines, while others criticized the commission for not intervening, saying that they would have a bad time during the upcoming holiday due to their losses.

The commission did not respond to requests for comment.

The comments quickly spread on Weibo, where the commission has nearly 5 million followers and the embassy has 1.3 million followers.

SAFE HAVENS

Chinese investors also complained on the Weibo accounts of other diplomatic missions in Beijing, including the Japanese and British embassies.

Public criticism of senior officials is generally forbidden in China and official media have published commentaries to ease concern about market losses.

The party’s People’s Daily on Thursday said that the Chinese stock market might fluctuate in the short term due to what is happening on Wall Street, but the effects are not expected to continue in the medium term.

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