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Ground Zero of China’s Slowdown Leaves Locals Looking for Exit

  • Tieling city’s economy contracted 6.2 percent in 2015
  • China’s regions increasingly split between winners and losers

Tea-shop manager Zhang Yue is so desperate about her home city of Tieling’s future that she’s borrowed about five times her annual income to buy a work visa to leave for Japan -- an economy that’s flat-lined for a generation.

"Two years ago, everything was fine and I bought whatever I wanted," said Zhang, 29, whose husband’s wages have since halved and her own have stalled. "Then, suddenly, the slump started. The economy went straight down. It’s in free fall."