Minority Uprising

These are queasy days for investors. Stalled stock markets are upsetting enough. Adding to the unease is the Enron scandal, the cloud over corporate accounting, and questions about the impartiality of stock analysts. In the U.S., few of the checks and balances designed to ensure retail investors get a fair shake appear to be functioning properly.

Likewise, in Hong Kong—never a bastion of shareholders' rights—minority investors are complaining about rough treatment at corporate hands. In April, Boto International, one of the territory's many publicly traded but family-controlled companies, announced plans to sell its manufacturing operations. The buyer? An...

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