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China daily praises PM Narendra Modi’s social media diplomacy

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Beijing: A leading English daily of China on Monday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomatic initiatives via social media, saying that it will “play a constructive role in the relationship between India and China”.

“When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on his 60th birthday on his Sina Weibo account on Wednesday (July 1), he once again showed the high value he attaches to diplomacy through social media accounts,” the Global Times stated in an opinion piece headlined “Modi’s social-media diplomacy can help build Sino-Indian understanding”.

The article is based on an interview with Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

Noting that Modi’s account in Sina Weibao, the Chinese version of Twitter, has tens of thousands of followers, it stated: “Yet this is not a special move, for he did the similar things for the US, Russia and Japan, through which he has delivered a message to the world that India is more open, and is keeping up to date with the latest trends.”

According to Zhao, despite India being the largest democracy in the world, there is an impression that it is a “rather conservative nation” and negative news about the country emerge from time to time.

“Therefore, Modi is trying to provide a new perspective on India to the international community through his public diplomacy. Communicating to people abroad is one part of this,” the article stated.

“Such public diplomacy will also play a constructive role in the relationship between India and China.”

According to the South Asian affairs expert, although there are currently no huge irritants affecting bilateral ties, there has been no major progress either in recent years.

“Besides, while certain difficult issues remain unsettled, it is still an open question as to when the two countries will completely settle on the track of healthy cooperation, especially with the backdrop of border disputes,” the article stated.

According to Zhao, the people of the two countries do not see each other as friends.

“Some Indians consider China to be their biggest threat, while some Chinese also view India negatively,” the opinion piece stated.

“In this case, Modi’s Weibo account and his interactions with Chinese people can have a positive effect on bilateral relations.”

Zhao opined that through Modi’s kind of public diplomacy, “people from each side can raise their understanding of one another, which will, in turn, play a significant role in enhancing Sino-Indian ties”.

“Of course, thorny issues need to be resolved through negotiations by leaders from both countries. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that if more Chinese look favourably on India, a relaxed atmosphere for smooth and healthy bilateral relations will be created,” the Global Times article concluded.

(IANS)

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Chinese Police Catches Hold of $1.5 Billion Money in Online Lending Scandal

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

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Chinese policemen watch as depositors from Ezubao gather outside the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Reception Division office in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2016. China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders following an avalanche of scandals. VOA

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.

Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

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The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste. Pixabay

The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.

Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.

Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.

Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.

Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.

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The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved. Pixabay

The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.

P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.

Also Read: Sales of Smart Feature Phones Expected To Be About $28 Billion Over Next Three Years

Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.

In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.

The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017. (VOA)