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He Helped Propel China's Growth, Now He Needs to Fix Its Fiscal Mess

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Two decades after he helped craft China’s fiscal system, Lou Jiwei is now battling to clean up the mess it has become.

China’s finance minister since March 2013, Lou, now 64, needs to travel no further than Tianjin, about 40 minutes by high-speed rail from Beijing, to see the excesses wrought by the debt-fueled investment that the old system enabled. Five years after the first building was finished in the city’s replica of New York’s Manhattan, the district remains almost deserted, its dirt-covered glass edifices overlooking near-empty streets.