In depth: Localities move forward with personal bankruptcy pilots as national efforts stall

Qi Sheng, 49, ran an after-school tutoring business with his wife that served about 200 students in Shenzhen. In a good year, their business could bring in 200,000 yuan ($29,450) a month. Life was comfortable – until Covid-19 put in-person classes in limbo.

The pandemic has left their classrooms empty for months. The “double reduction” policy – which aims to reduce the workload of Chinese students both in school and in private lessons – has added fuel to the fire and forced them into debt more than one million yuan as they struggled to pay their rent and workers. On top of that, Qi’s wife was stricken with illness and required expensive treatment. Pressed by growing financial difficulties, Qi and his wife filed for personal bankruptcy liquidation with the Shenzhen Intermediate People’s Court in May 2021.

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