After the Greek public defied European paymasters with a resounding “no” vote in the referendum on new bailout terms, there is speculation in Asia as to whether China will come to Athens’ rescue.

While the fallout from the landmark public vote has only just begun, many analysts are expecting a Greek exit from the eurozone, at least on a temporary basis. Banks are set to stay shut today (July 6), with further capital controls being placed on ATM withdrawals amid reports of shortages of €20 notes.

Athens is due to make another €3.5bn bond repayment to the European Central Bank in exactly two weeks. If it fails to do so, many speculate that lenders will stop propping up the Greek economy, forcing it to start printing money of its own in order to keep the economy ticking over.

On the eve of Sunday’s referendum however, words spoken by a respected economist suggested that China might be willing to support Greece.

In an interview with Sputnik Asia, which has been widely circulated, Fan Mingtao, director of the Quantitative Finance Department at China’s Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics said: “I believe there are two ways to give Greece Chinese aid. First, within the framework of the international aid through EU countries. Second, China could aid Greece directly. Especially considering the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has this ability.”

While Greece was not among the 57 founding members of the AIIB, the rhetoric emanating from Beijing suggests that there would not be an issue with its membership, despite its financial travails.

Just last week, the Chinese premier Li Keqiang spoke at a summit in Brussels about the need to foster better bilateral investment ties between the EU and China. Li had already voiced his support for a unified EU with Greece included.

He said: “Let me reiterate that China always supports European integration and that China hopes to see a prosperous Europe, a united European Union and a strong euro. However, the issue whether Greece stays within the eurozone not only concerns the stability of the euro, but also … the stability and economic recovery of the whole world.”

“China is a true friend of Greece and of the EU,” he added.

China has been a serial investor in the Greek economy since the onset of the crisis, hoovering up a series of public assets in what amounted to a fire-sale of privatisation. The Chinese state-owned enterprise COSCO has been steadily increasing its share in the Piraeus Port – Greece’s largest commercial seaport – with a view to a full-on takeover. Officials in Beijing are said to view Greece as an ideal “gateway to Europe”. Further investment in its infrastructure and assets may make sense at a time in which China is looking to increase its foothold on the continent.

But China is facing issues of its own: despite its new-found bravado on the international stage, there is evidence to suggest that it needs to get its own house in order before its truly global ambitions come to fruition.

As the Greek crisis flared up to new levels, Beijing was forced to intervene in its own stock market, after it threatened to descend into chaos. Over the past three weeks, around US$3.2tn has been wiped off the value of China’s stock market, as fears re-emerge over a hard landing.

The government’s efforts to re-nose its economy towards a more consumption-based model appear to be failing, with demand lagging and investment in key sectors reaching decade-long lows. This has led to the People’s Bank of China lending money to investors in order to re-invest in the stock market.

Where will it stop? The fears among commodity-producing nations were already acute and after the events of the past week, anxieties will be growing further still. The likes of Australia and Brazil, which have become systemically reliant on China to purchase their stocks of ores, minerals and energy could be hit hardest, while Russia – for which China has been the only beacon of support among the global powers – could also stand to be hit hard.

“We believe it is unlikely the creditors’ proposals will be significantly relaxed as a result of the “no” vote,” Diego Iscaro, IHS

As for Greece, it’s difficult to find two analysts who agree on the next likely course of action. Some – such as the prominent US Nobel economist Paul Krugman – are saying that the cycle should be allowed to run its course. The decision of the Troika to continue to laden Greece with more and more non-repayable debt was foolhardy, the argument goes.

Others are hopeful of further intervention still.

“Negotiations will resume over the coming days but the probability of a deal is distant. Tsipras’ argument is that he can now go back to the lenders in a stronger position. However, we believe it is unlikely the creditors’ proposals will be significantly relaxed as a result of the “no” vote. It will now be impossible for the Syriza-led government to accept the deal currently on the table, which means that the risk of a total collapse in the negotiations has increased significantly,” says Diego Iscaro of IHS.

“In our view, the only hope of a deal may rest on the IMF convincing eurozone governments to include a clause promising debt relief in the future, conditional to Greece meeting certain targets. This will be extremely difficult but lenders may come to the conclusion that it is the only way to avoid Greece leaving the eurozone,” he adds.

It was announced this morning (July 6) that Greece’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis had quit his post, claiming that he was not welcome around the table of European powers anymore: further drama to a situation which continues to stumble from crisis to crisis.