For well over a decade, it seemed China was one of the easiest places for investors to make money. The market was big, new and exciting.

Better still, it seemed investors and their investee companies didn’t have to endure too much regulatory oversight. The big and powerful, such as Alibaba, Tencent and Evergrande, were allowed to become bigger and more powerful. But on the first Friday of December came the latest confirmation that booms do come to a painful end...

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