Did China’s Stock Market Protest Today?

Does Shanghai’s stock market have a democratic mind of its own?

The Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Composite Index fell exactly 64.89 points on Tuesday, the 23rd anniversary anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre. The index also opened at 2346.98, which if read (from right to left) also arouses memories of Tiananmen. Reuters reports that the Great Firewall responded by blocking the term “Shanghai stock market” on Chinese microblogs, and it appears that exchange officials have already taken steps to defuse any conspiracy theories. While Bloomberg still displayed the 64.89 figure as of 7:30pm HKT, Google Finance is already showing the index as having closed down 63.85 points instead.

The Wall Street Journal, which has made the change as well, has more on a trading day that began and ended in bizarre fashion:

A man from the stock exchange’s media information department, surnamed Zhang, said “This opening level is normal. Opening levels are decided by appropriate regulations and today’s opening level was normal.”

The numerical insanity leaves nobody happy. Beijing’s leadership now must suspect a pro-Democracy activist, perhaps even a former 1989er, is at the helm of the stock exchange. And for investors, well, it just means market forces aren’t driving stock prices, a suspicion they’ve had all along.

For more on other terms that were blocked on Weibo as of today, see CDT’s Sensitive Words: The Tiananmen Edition.


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