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Beijing’s clampdown on the booming private education industry has shocked even some of the most seasoned China watchers, prompting a rethink of how far Xi Jinping’s Communist Party is willing to go as it tightens its grip on the world’s second-largest economy.

The crash in tutoring stocks that began on Friday spread this week across the tech sector and beyond, after authorities confirmed reports they would ban a swathe of the education industry from making profits. It’s the government’s most extreme step yet to rein in private businesses that regulators blame for exacerbating inequality, increasing financial risk and — in the case of some tech titans — challenging Beijing’s authority.

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