Xie Baisan, champion of China’s small investors, dies aged 68

The economist took aim at the country’s financial market policy and its administrators

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 11:24pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 11:24pm

Xie Baisan, a leading Chinese economist and vocal critic of the country’s financial market policy, died early on Sunday after an eight-year battle with cancer, mainland media reported.

Xie, a finance professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, had a reputation for speaking out for retail investors. He was 68.

He died at a hospital in Shanghai, eight years after he was diagnosed with throat cancer, online news portal Thepaper.cn reported, quoting people close to Xie. Other mainland media also ­reported his death.

China Securities Regulatory Commission chairman Liu Shiyu was one of Xie’s most recent targets, coming under criticism in an article last month for suggesting that the capital market should be used to help reduce poverty.

Xie said the money in the stock market belonged to investors and should not be used to satisfy the political aims of senior officials.

Doubts over market incentives

He also publicly took aim at Liu’s predecessor, Xiao Gang, ­accusing him of failing to do his job. Xiao was replaced by Liu in February in the aftermath of last year’s stock market turbulence.

In addition, Xie criticised the CSRC’s plans to shorten the listing process of companies from the country’s western and other less-developed regions, arguing that it would open the door to sub­standard companies and harm ­investors’ interest.

Xie tried and failed in 2014 to sue the CSRC over what he claimed was a policy that hurt the financial rights of investors.

Weighing in on Beijing’s property market policy, the professor argued that he supported regulation but attempts to stifle the housing bubble would do long-term damage to the economy.

CSRC chief Xiao Gang: the accidental banker and the Chinese stock market circuit breaker

Paying tribute to Xie on his ­microblog, Liu Jipeng, dean of China University of Political ­Science and Law’s capital finance institute, said Xie was a “history maker and witness” to the country’s capital market from the launch of the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges in 1990.

Wu Xiaoqiu, executive vice-president of Renmin University’s graduate school, said he respected deeply Xie’s straightforward and sincere character and his integrity.

Many online users also applauded Xie for speaking up for ­investors.

“Every time there is a stock market policy that is unfair to small shareholders, Xie was always the one who stepped up to tell the truth for the people,” an online commenter said.

Another wrote: “Professor Xie was a scholar of conscience who constantly spoke for the many small stock investors.”