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China regulator wants tougher penalties for capital market abuse

[BEIJING] The cost of breaking China's capital market rules is still low, and the country should be tougher on those who violate them, according to an official at the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The securities regulator issued a record 10.3 billion yuan (S$2.1 billion) in fines last year, but penalties should still be higher, Yan Qingmin, vice chairman of the commission, said in Beijing on Saturday. It also needs to move ahead with the development of the economy, and be careful not to fall behind or skip ahead, he said.

Recent accounting scandals at listed companies have put a spotlight on disclosure practices in a country where companies are defaulting at a record pace. The issue has become increasingly important for global investors and securities firms as they gain unprecedented access to China's stock and bond markets.

China should increase financing through the capital market, Mr Yan said, adding that banks are still core to fundraising.

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