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Top figure at pioneering Chinese financial magazine resigns from corporate roles

Wang Boming, the man who helped launch the mainland’s stock market in the early 1990s and went on to run one of the country’s most influential financial magazines for nearly two decades, has resigned from his corporate positions.

The Hong Kong-listed SEEC Media Group, which owns the investigative magazine Caijing, confirmed yesterday Wang had resigned as a chairman and executive director of the company due to his “other business engagements”. He is still listed as editor-in-chief on the masthead of the magazine’s most recent issue.

Wang’s departure, along with the silencing of several outspoken mainland media outlets recently, could be a sign of an increasinglyinsulatedChinese society, according to Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology.

Caijing magazine played a very important role in China by providing lots of independent reporting … Some … might have hurt vested interest groups in the past,” Hu said.

The changes in the magazine’s staff “may be connected to China’s increasing reluctance to accept foreign things such as media independence, especially in social governance”, he said.

Wang, the son of a former deputy foreign minister, was part of a pro-reform group that was instrumental in creating the Stock Exchange Executive Council in the 1980s. Many of his colleagues from that time went on to become key decision-makers, including Wang Qishan, now the Communist Party’s discipline tsar.

After the United States and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic ties in 1979, Wang was among a privileged few mainlanders to study in the US. He studied finance at Columbia University and was working at the New York Stock Exchange on Black Monday, the October 19 crash in 1987.

One day in 1988, Wang and Gao Xiqing, a lawyer in New York who became deputy chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, were talking in front of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and decided to return to the mainland to launch its stock ­exchange, mainland reports said.

Wang went on to found Capital Weekly in 1992 and Caijing in 1998. With Hu Shuli, one of the most respected journalists in the country, overseeing the newsroom, Caijing quickly won fame with a series of investigative reports about corporate fraud and misuse of power. It became a flagship publication with wide social influence.

Hu Shuli continued to push media boundaries, which put her at odds with the publisher. She eventually quit Caijing, taking most of its newsroom staff with her to launch Caixin magazine in 2009.

The SEEC remains influential with strong networks in business and the public sector.

Frequent guests of the Caijing annual conference include top policymakers such as central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan.