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Opinion
Niall Ferguson

Evergrande's Fall Shows How Xi Has Created a China Crisis

The developer’s collapse isn’t leading to global contagion, but China’s looming economic disaster might.

Nevergrande.

Nevergrande.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

A major mistake of the Cold War was the tendency of Western observers to overestimate the Soviet Union. I have often wondered if the same mistake is being repeated with the People’s Republic of China. Then again, for every article over the last 10 years that predicted China’s economy would overtake that of the U.S., there were at least two prophesying a “China crisis.”

“The endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun,” wrote David Shambaugh in 2015. Wisely, he added: “Its demise is likely to be protracted.” That same year, Jim Chanos of Kynikos Associates warned, “We’re getting inexorably to a tipping point in China.”