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China names a new stock regulator and reports new developer financing in a bid to soothe markets

BANGKOK (AP) — Chinese shares rose Thursday as investors appeared to welcome Beijing’s choice of an industry veteran to head its securities watchdog, in its latest effort to boost confidence in ailing markets.

Wu Qing, a former chair of the Shanghai Stock Exchange with a reputation for being tough on market misbehavior, was named chairman and Communist Party chief of the China Securities Regulatory Commission late Wednesday.

He replaced Yi Huiman, who presided over months of turmoil as share markets slumped, losing trillions of dollars of value.

The official Xinhua News Agency gave no reason for Yi’s departure.

Earlier this week, the CSRC said that it was cracking down on insider trading, market manipulation and other crimes and would protect small investors. A state investment fund pledged to step up buying of exchange-traded funds and regulators also imposed limits on short-selling.

Chinese stocks still had been trading near five-year lows despite those measures, making buying shares feel “like catching a falling knife,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya of Swissquote said in a commentary.

Investors registered their enthusiasm in online comments, with some saying they expected Wu, whose full name is a homophone for characters meaning “ruthless” in Chinese, to live up to his nickname of “Broker Butcher.”

Markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen have languished, partly because of heavy selling of property shares following a crackdown on excessive borrowing by developers as defaults among dozens of developers undermined confidence in the government’s efforts to revive the economy following the pandemic.

Authorities recently have sought to relieve some of the pressure on the real estate market by freeing up financing that might enable developers