Home » Chinese female entrepreneur detained for collecting government project funds, sparking outrage – Wall Street Journal

Chinese female entrepreneur detained for collecting government project funds, sparking outrage – Wall Street Journal

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Chinese female entrepreneur detained for collecting government project funds, sparking outrage – Wall Street Journal

Female Entrepreneur Detained in China Sparks Outrage Over Government Debt Collection Tactics

In a poor southern Chinese province, a female entrepreneur has been detained while trying to collect payment for a government-backed project, leading to widespread anger and accusations of state power abuse.

The incident revolves around a multi-million dollar resort development project that has stalled, highlighting the dissatisfaction with how government agencies handle the domestic economy and struggling local governments attempting to repay debts.

The controversy came to a head when construction contractor Ma Yijiayi was criminally detained by local police for picking quarrels and provoking trouble while demanding payment from the Shuicheng District government in Liupanshui City, Guizhou Province.

Many private entrepreneurs, lawyers, and state media have condemned the government’s actions, suspecting that authorities are trying to “criminalize debt” in order to alleviate financial pressure faced by local governments.

China’s economic slowdown post-epidemic and sluggish real estate market have resulted in a decrease in land sales revenue, a key source of local finance. Some officials have resorted to unconventional methods to bolster finances, including using law enforcement agencies to increase revenue, as seen in the Shuicheng District.

The Shuicheng District Government claimed to have paid most of the outstanding project fees but accused Ma Yijiayi of infringing on citizens’ personal information and provoking trouble. Despite requests for comment, both the government and Public Security Bureau remained silent on the matter.

Following public outcry and pressure, high-level officials in Guizhou Province convened a conference to address the situation and emphasize the importance of settling arrears on corporate accounts to support private enterprises. An investigation team has been formed to review Ma Yijiayi’s case.

Ma Yijiayi, a member of the Hui ethnic minority, became entangled in the dispute over the Shuicheng District government’s failure to pay funds for rural development projects. Her construction company undertook various projects as part of the government’s tourism resort development plan.

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According to reports, Ma Yijiayi’s construction company faced financial difficulties when the resort development project was suspended in 2018. Some of the buildings and facilities have fallen into disrepair, raising questions about the management of funds and resources.

The situation has raised concerns about debt management by local governments in China, particularly in impoverished regions like Guizhou. The case has put a spotlight on the challenges faced by private enterprises in dealing with overdue payments and the impact on their operations.

As the investigation into Ma Yijiayi’s case continues, calls for transparency and accountability have grown louder, with observers urging officials to learn from this incident to restore business confidence and support economic growth in the region.

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