Government & Military

Fang Xinghai

The new defender of China’s stock market policies.

VICE CHAIRMAN, CHINA SECURITIES REGULATORY COMMISSION

As China’s stock market was enduring a period of dizzying highs and despair-inducing lows that seized international headlines, Chinese authorities scrambled to reshuffle their ranks of regulators, and fast-rising Fang Xinghai ended up near the top. He’s now vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, which regulates the country’s markets, and is often its public face. The Stanford University-educated Fang — who spent 12 years in the United States, speaks impeccable English, and cut his teeth as an investment officer at the Washington, D.C.-based World Bank — carries a reputation as a reformer and someone Westerners can work with.

That doesn’t mean he’s there to please them. In January 2016, while impressing attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Fang publicly called Chinese President Xi Jinping — his ultimate boss and someone with whom he’s reportedly close — the “best leader” in the world. (Xi himself attended Davos the next year and commanded the spotlight.) What about the market volatility that spooked the rest of the world in the lead-up to Davos? Fang said China’s market volatility wasn’t going anywhere soon; nervous foreigners would have to “get used to it.”

(Photo credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

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