China's Hard `Soft Landing'

Its state industries are sputtering

The pain in China's rust belt is acute. In Harbin, a northeastern city of 5.5 million with a heavy concentration of state-owned companies, a tearful factory manager says money is so tight that all he can offer his workers as holiday gifts are $12 "dumpling loans"--money for pork wontons that has to be repaid. Many employees of cash-strapped state enterprises in Harbin now work part-time. Others stay home and get only a fraction of their wages. Official figures put the national jobless rate at about 3%. But in many northeastern cities, it's estimated to be as high as 20%.

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