CHINA–On April 11 and 12, the Shenyang Intermediate Court and the Yilishen liquidation team issued announcements regarding the refund of farmers' investments. They claimed that 83 percent of the ant farmers accepted the government's refund plan. However, some ant farmers complained that the settlement would be less than 10 percent of their hard earned investment.
The liquidation team had claimed that the ant farms could receive 62.5 percent of their investment based on Yilishen's bankrupt property appraisal and the return of ant farmers' investment would be implemented in the near future.
The reporter interviewed ant farmers in various areas of Liaoning, only a few of them knew about the announcements; most of them have not yet seen the actual news on TV or in the newspapers. They were very depressed after learning the news, because they had calculated their anticipated refunds from the earlier report. Now, most investors will receive nothing or a very small refund according to the court approved refund plan.
Few to Receive Refunds
According to the court's pronouncement, the liquidation team confirmed there are only 311,329 ant farmers qualified to receive a refund. That figure is less than one third of the over one million ant farmer investors in Liaoning Province according to estimations by overseas media, such as Asia Times in November 2007, when the bankruptcy filing was announced.
The liquidation team also stipulated that only those ant farmers who held contracts with Yilishen after July 25, 2006 are eligible for a refund, despite the fact that the company started its illegal financing plan in 1999.
The liquidation team claimed that 3.31 billion yuan (approximately US$471 million) could be allocated for refunds after the liquidation, while media estimated that the total illegal financing was at least 15 billion yuan (approximately US$2.1 billion).
One ant farmer, who wished to remain anonymous, told the reporter that he started to invest in the ant business in August 2006. He invested a total of 1.6 million yuan (approximately US$ 228,271) at different times. According to the government approved refund plan, he will only receive 150,000 yuan (approximately US$ 21,428).
Suppression of Further Appeals
Furthermore, after the announcement, the authority will suppress any future protests in the name of “unreasonable appeal,” because the court's decision has been finalized.
Another ant farmer disclosed, “The local Liaoning regime has arrested another group of farmer organizers pressing for a fair decision. Those who dare to stand up, even saying a few words will be arrested.”