China's securities regulator warned there was "panic sentiment" in mainland stocks on Wednesday, saying there had been a surge in "irrational selling" as markets plunged further into bear market territory.
The statement from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) did little to soothe investor worries about tumbling equities, with the Shanghai Composite sinking as much as 8 percent in early trade on Wednesday before paring losses to around 5 percent.
Shortly after the regulator's statement, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said it would closely watch the stock market's direction and guard against systematic regional financial risks, according to a statement on the central bank's website.
China's state asset administrator also urged central government-owned firms to buy their own stock to stabilize share prices, pleading them not to sell during this period of "unusual market volatility."
"This hodge podge of measures that have been undertaken by the government are so conflicted that I think it's causing more confusion in the markets than it is delivering therapy," said Ron Isana, CNBC's senior analyst and commentator.
"In the U.S., we're very concerned, we don't like excessive government intervention. The market is still trying to deflate a bubble so why are they trying to prop up a bubble? Nothing looks or smells good there," remarked David Dietze, president and chief investment strategist at Point View Wealth Management.
Meanwhile, more than 500 China-listed companies announced trading halts in Shanghai and Shenzhen on Wednesday, Reuters said, citing an analysis of corporate statements. "More than 51 percent of the 2,776 A-shares has suspended trading today, according to the National Business Daily," echoed Bernard AW, IG's market strategist.
The suspension of trading is a particularly "stupid move," said Alex Wong, director of asset management at Hong Kong-based Ample Capital. People are selling heavily today because they're afraid the stocks they own may also get suspended, he explained.
Officials also said on Wednesday that the China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX) would raise the deposit ratio for short positions on CSI500 index futures from 10 to 30 percent, effective Thursday, just a day after the exchange said it would be limiting daily trading on index futures.
In Shanghai, brokerages were among the biggest losers on Wednesday, with Citic Securities and Everbright Securities dropping 10 percent each, despite news that China Securities Finance Corporation (CSFC), a provider of margin financing loan services, would provide adequate liquidity for brokerages.