Web Editors' Choice 2013

By The Editors - 2013-12-24T19:48:39Z

Photograph by Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

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The Burdens of China's Debt

Faced with a growing debt crisis that has seen many of China's businesses drowning in unofficial "shadow" loans, China in 2012 set out to create a government-sanctioned alternative. It hasn't worked. Bloomberg's Jun Luo went to Wenzhou, the city the government selected for a pilot program after a wave of businessmen went bankrupt or committed suicide over their debt. She found an official loan office that was almost empty, with brokers conceding that only the most desperate borrowers were likely to approach the government-backed lending agency. The government’s offers of aid, one businessman tells Luo, have turned out to be “a pie that we can never eat.”