Sweeping mortgage boycott changes the face of dissent in China

Posted by Ed 11 days ago
IN a country that only tolerates dissent in small doses — and relies on property as its economic growth engine — a mortgage boycott by hundreds of thousands of middle-class Chinese has become a five-alarm fire for authorities.

It began with a 590-word letter penned by angry purchasers of the half-built Dynasty Mansion project, whose pleas for China Evergrande Group to complete homes they’d long been paying for had fallen on deaf ears. “All homebuyers with outstanding mortgage loans will stop paying,” unless construction resumes before Oct. 20, they threatened.

The ultimatum raced across social media platforms WeChat and Douyin, becoming a call to action for those caught out by China’s rapidly deflating property bubble. In days, the letter became a template for protests from Shanghai to Beijing, and Shenzhen to Zhengzhou, with homeowners cutting and pasting from it to draft their own boycott manifestos. Within four weeks, more than 320 projects in about 100 cities were facing similar protests, roiling markets and forcing authorities to corral banks and developers to defuse the unrest.


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Ed 10 days ago
‘Financial monsters’: China’s bad banks complicate property crisis

Distressed asset management companies highlight the challenge Beijing faces in mobilising rescue options
To contain the fallout from the Asian financial crisis two decades ago, Beijing set up a group of bad banks and packed them with the country’s most toxic debts. But with deepening distress in China’s property sector threatening to spark wider economic turmoil, those bad banks are now struggling to help.
The problem is that the balance sheets of China’s “Big Four” asset management companies — China Cinda Asset Management, China Huarong Asset Management, China Great Wall Asset Management and China Orient Asset Management — have become so bloated that their capacity is restricted.
The groups are “financial monsters”, said Chen Long, a partner at Beijing-based consultancy Plenum, “I would not count on them to play a big part” in addressing the property crisis.


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