“We have lost contact with our chairman,” is an awkward disclosure from the board of a listed company to its investors. It can lead to a collapse in the share price. In China the resulting confusion can persist for months, casting a shadow over the company’s future. Such announcements have become so common this year that a state-owned newspaper, Securities Times, has offered advice to directors dealing with a disappearance. “Don’t be coy when it comes to disclosing these matters,” the paper said in November. It reminded firms that they have a responsibility to keep investors informed of any major incidents affecting their operations. This includes an inexplicably uncontactable chairman or chief executive.