Trail of Risky Investments in China – Mark Magnier
The Los Angeles Times takes a closer look at the victims in the Yilishen ant-farming scam:
The story of Yilishen illustrates the get-rich-now mentality here, the constant search for a new angle by those struggling to make a go of it with the communist economy having all but given way to private enterprise, and the frequent collusion of government officials in shady dealings.
Old rules of caution don’t carry much weight in a society that has seen some become absurdly wealthy, seemingly overnight. And government officials often are first in line to fleece the laobaixing, or common folk.
Instead of siding with Yilishen’s victims — mostly poor farmers, construction workers and the unemployed — the government has blocked Internet postings and ordered reporters off the story, ant farmers say. Attorneys in the nation’s capital have been discouraged from representing any of them, according to the website of the Beijing Municipal Lawyers Assn. [Full Text]
See also “Ants and pyramids: China scams abound,” about the phenomenon of scamming in China, from Asia Times.