The Party Is Over On The Bourses

And Beijing's market manipulations are largely to blame

On the electronic boards of China Southern Securities' trading floor in Beijing, the lights are almost all green--the color that represents falling stock prices. It's a familiar hue in China these days: The Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share exchanges have lost almost 15% of their value from the soaring heights achieved over the summer. "I've got to get into a new business," says a 37-year-old trader named Zhao. He may be right. In the past few months, Zhao has lost some $6,000--a quarter of his initial investment since he gave up his foreign-trade consulting business two years ago to play the market full-time.

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