China: A Lesson Learned The Hard Way

This time around, Beijing supports a company in trouble

As a senior Chinese official, Wang Qishan is used to deferential treatment in both Hong Kong and Beijing. But when the executive vice-governor of China's troubled Guangdong province stood before more than 250 foreign bankers at Hong Kong's posh Shangri-La Hotel on Mar. 1, he was greeted with an unusual stony silence. "Even after I said, `Thank you,' there was no applause," says a sober Wang, a close associate of Premier Zhu Rongji and the man charged with cleaning up the financial mess in the once booming showcase province of southern China.

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