A political cartoon that ran in Guangdong's Southern Weekend newspaper depicts a Chinese banker sucking away all the rain as a private businessman looks up holding a shriveled plant labeled "company profits."
BEIJING – As Vice President Xi Jinping uses his visit to the United States to reaffirm many of the common goals that tie China and the U.S. together, a Chinese cartoonist has identified one issue that people in both countries can identify with: runaway bank profits.
The invaluable China Media Project posted this political cartoon by artist Cao Yi that ran in Guangdong’s Southern Weekend newspaper. It shows a banker perched high up in the clouds sucking away all the moisture in the clouds while a despondent private businessman looks upwards to the heavens, holding a shriveled-up plant labeled “company profits.”
The China Media Project notes that a 2012 story from the Southern Weekend reported that in 2011 China’s four largest commercial banks – all state-owned – brought in almost $50 million in profits each day. Meanwhile, tightened bank lending restrictions last year meant that while state-owned enterprises were still able to secure low-interest loans, private enterprises struggled to secure any type of loans from these banks.
What resulted is increased borrowing through “grey markets” that often come with predatory interest rates and ultimately what the Southern Weekend lamented as “paper thin” profits.
In the city of Wenzhou – often called the birthplace of China’s market economy – small and medium enterprises have taken so many of these private loans that it has been described by some analysts as a “ticking time bomb.”
A sentiment certainly shared by many Americans these days.