Dan Harris and Steve Dickinson in The New York Times

Some are calling it “bigger than Enron” and “a bit of a Ponzi scheme.” A recent ruling by the Supreme People’s Court, the highest court in China, raises an important question: Is the future in question for more than half of the 200 Chinese companies listed on the New York and Nasdaq stock exchanges?

“This group of people will distinguish the recent Supreme People’s Court ruling because it was an earlier set of documents, not entirely the same as the V.I.E. structure,” Mr. Dickinson predicted. “But what the court said is that any contract that is designed to avoid the clear requirements of Chinese law is void from the very first step. That is what the V.I.E. is.”

Considering the possible wide-reaching implications of this recent ruling, is it being underplayed?

“Accountants, lawyers and stock brokers make a ton of money off I.P.O.’s so they have no incentive to slow them down,” said Dan Harris, a China lawyer with Harris & Moure and a co-author of the China Law Blog. “They have every incentive to keep the V.I.E. structure going.”