Around 4 a.m. on Sept. 7, construction workers in Jinhua, a city in eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, found the body of a woman hanging from a tree in a park. She was Wang Qian, a 31-year-old single mother who had lost her savings in China’s recent peer-to-peer (P2P) lending crash.
Wang worked as an individual seller on Taobao, a Chinese shopping site similar to eBay. She had invested her money in P2P platform PPMiao, which collapsed on Aug. 6. She lost about 260,000 yuan ($38,000).
“This country leaves me in frustration. My money was defrauded, and the police bureau has registered the case for almost a month, but there’s still no progress at all.” Wang wrote in her suicide letter, which her family discovered in her car.
“The law enforcement authorities didn’t even freeze the defendants’ accounts. Instead, they treat me as an obstacle to their stability maintenance,” Wang wrote, referring to the policy of “weiwen” or “maintaining social stability” that constitutes the broad mission of the Chinese regime’s police forces.
Wang left behind a 9-year-old son, to whom she addressed some last words. “Mom is leaving. Please study hard, study overseas and immigrate to another country when you grow up.”
Following Wang Qian’s suicide, the police took custody of her body and cremated it on Sept. 8, against her family members’ wishes. Local officials also threatened Wang’s family, telling them to keep quiet about her death and her desperate circumstances, as well as to not give any interviews, Voice of America reported.
VOA quoted Mr. Yu, a friend of Wang’s, as saying that he and other victims of the P2P crash had visited her parents on Sept. 7 following her suicide. But as soon as they arrived, Yu and the others received phone calls from the police ordering them to leave immediately.
Following the incident, the name “Wang Qian” was censored by the authorities, with all messages and notifications about her being removed rapidly after posting.
P2P companies collect funds from individuals at higher interest than banks, and then lend funds to small business or individuals who cannot otherwise get loans. The first Chinese P2P platform began operating in 2011, and at the 2015 peak, there were some 3,500 such platforms in China. But as the economy worsened, more and more lending companies collapsed — according to official data, there were only 1,842 P2P companies still operating by the end of July this year, and just 1,595 by the end of August.