Feb. 01, 2024 |

Bridges to nowhere. On January 28, a court in Hong Kong declared the Chinese company Evergrande—not long ago the largest real-estate developer in the People’s Republic—bankrupt. The company owed more than US$300 million in debts, after collecting down payments and mortgages from hundreds of thousands of Chinese homebuyers whose apartments remained unbuilt.

In late 2021, when Evergrande first defaulted on some of its debt payments, Victor Shih—the Ho Miu Lam Chair in China and Pacific Relations at the University of California, San Diego—looked at the growing structural problems with the Chinese economy.