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Individual Investors Need Protection
Hundreds of angry shareholders of the biochemical firm Guangxia(Yinchuan) Industry Co, whose reputation and share price nosedived following reports of financial fraud, are joining hands in a bid to bring a lawsuit against the firm, according to today's China Daily.

Around 500 shareholders have called on the Shanghai Allbright Law Office in pursuit of suing the Shenzhen-listed company and the accountants that signed financial reports containing allegedly fabricated earning figures , sources said.

"The number of plaintiffs is growing," said Yan Yiming , an Allbright solicitor responsible for the case.

The court has accepted the lawsuit, the first such case that has been recognized by the judicial system, heightening investors' hopes of getting justice and compensation for the loss of their hard-earned money.

Despite calls for the establishment of a civil lawsuit system to protect retail investors, Yan said that existing laws, including the Securities Law and the Corporate Law , are adequate to support the ongoing case.

"We spent two and a half days talking to officials from the court , and they have decided to take the case," he told China Daily in a telephone interview. "That means the existing laws are quite sufficient."

However , Yan, who was among one of the first solicitors trying to help China's individual stock investors, said improvements were still needed on the existing Corporate Law to make it more manoeuvrable to shareholders.

Shareholders of the Chengdu Hongguang Industry were perhaps even more unlucky , as their appeals , which were accepted at first , were rejected by a court without explanation. It followed another case of financial fraud , this time by the kinescope maker , which was brought to light last year.

"They are still trying," said Yan, who also handled the unsuccessful legal efforts that served to educate millions of small stock investors in China, on the importance of legal protection.

(Xinhua News Agency 09/18/2001)

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