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HomeTravelThe Human Cost of China’s Rural Banking Crisis

The Human Cost of China’s Rural Banking Crisis

By the night of June 14, Nie Haiyang was in a state close to emotional and physical collapse.

The 32-year-old was standing outside the headquarters of the Henan Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. He’d been there for four days, refusing to leave despite the police’s repeated threats and his growing exhaustion.

Nie is among thousands of people caught up in one of China’s worst banking scandals in years. In April, four rural banks in central China’s Henan province froze their customers’ accounts without warning. Billions of dollars of deposits were affected — including Nie’s entire life savings.

After weeks of waiting, the depositors still had no idea when — or if — they’d be able to recover their money. Growing increasingly desperate, many had decided to travel to Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, to appeal to the authorities to intervene. Nie and his family had…

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