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Economy

China: Dirty Money Lending And The Merchants of Wenzhou

Public officials have been caught repeatedly in usury-related scandals in the wealthy southeastern city of Wenzhou. Not only is it a betrayal of public trust, it exposes an economic system that too often relies on illegal money lending.

Wenzhou in southeastern Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China
Wenzhou in southeastern Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China

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Recently, a couple of moneylenders from Wenzhou China ran off with 1.3 billion RMB ($204 million) worth of deposits, 80% from government coffers. The public reaction fell somewhere short of surprise, as two other similar cases this year had already made headlines: in one, the creditor-victims were all employees of Wenzhou's local judiciary system; in the other case, the usurer, who was a top local Communist Party appointee, was later accused of killing his mistress.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 86: Putin Turns Up The Dial In Donbas

Russia may allow over-40s to enlist in military as resources are needed to step up the assault in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian soldier and his dog on the outskirt of the separatist region of Donetsk

Irene Caselli, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Signs are pointing to Russian combat operations accelerating in the southeastern Donbas region, as the invasion in Ukraine nears the three-month mark. The British Ministry of Defence said Friday that more Russian troops are likely to be deployed to Donbas to reinforce operations there once they finish securing the strategic port city of Mariupol, where a growing numbers of Ukrainian soldiers has surrendered this week.

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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainian students during a virtual address on Thursday that the war is not over yet, and is entering “the final stage (which) is the most difficult, the bloodiest.” He added that it is not time yet for him to tell Ukrainians abroad to return home.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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