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China Moves to Eliminate Financial Scam Ads

FILE - A person walks past an anti-scam poster in Taipei.
FILE - A person walks past an anti-scam poster in Taipei.
China kicked off a nationwide campaign on Thursday to do away with advertisements for financial scams promising big returns at no risk, highlighting concern over the potential for trouble as financial know-how lags behind rising personal wealth.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission said the three-month “clean-up campaign” would take aim at the huge number of advertisements in China for wealth management products, no-interest loans, real estate and many other “no-risk, high-return” schemes from planting forests to breeding animals.

A commission statement said the campaign would “protect the legitimate interests of the masses” and “clean up the market environment”.

Such advertisements, it said, would be eliminated, advertisers identified and their actions used to educate the people. Preventive policies would be put in place and offenders investigated.

Financial scams have multiplied in China as individual wealth grows, but a lack of financial knowledge and education means many people do not know how to protect their money.

People convicted of big frauds in high-profile cases have been sentenced to death as authorities remain wary of the potential for social unrest.

Last month, police had to intervene after about 1,000 people overran a branch of China's central bank in a southern town as a rumor spread that it was handing out zero-interest loans.
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