A Chinese Crackdown That May Do More Harm Than Good

Beijing, in curbing currency trades, could derail business

They may be black-market operators, but to their customers China's curbside money changers are no more sinister than bank tellers. The black markets have long operated openly in the major cities. But the freewheeling days are over. Police now comb the bazaars, looking to shut down the money changers. Rumors are circulating that the police are even arresting customers. "We are panicking here," says a Chinese-American executive who used to change her dollars on the Shenzhen black market for 10% more than the official rate.

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