Wu Ying also a victim

Updated: 2012-02-29 08:02

(China Daily)

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Whether or not Wu Ying is actually guilty of financial fraud, I feel sorry for her. She is really the victim of one of the downsides of China's rapid economic growth. She has been raised in a culture and in an environment where happiness and success are increasingly judged in monetary and material terms.

One point that has been overlooked is that at the time she is supposed to have committed her crimes, she was only a young woman in her mid-twenties. She obviously lacked the experience to operate in the world of underground banking with its enforcers and a culture unfamiliar to most people.

Wu Ying's case is further muddied by the fact there is no legal definition that allows a court to distinguish between a personal loan from a friend and a private loan from a corporate body with a view to making a profit. Nor are there any alternative legal financial institutions that enable potential lenders to pool their resources and their responsibilities in a way that does not depend on the financial probity of a single individual.

The one good thing that has come out of this case, however, is that the whole process of lending money to small businesses has been highlighted as a major problem, and that something needs to be done to free them from having to be forced to borrow money from the "black market."

Ross Grainger, via e-mail

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(China Daily 02/29/2012 page9)