The end of the Chinese dream?

China's economic slowdown leaves a trail of ghost towns and millions of ordinary workers struggling to survive.

| | China, Business & Economy

For decades, China's economic prowess has powered world growth. China's rise as a modern nation has been remarkable and the country's leaders often tell the world that they managed to lift more than 600 million people out of poverty in just a few decades.

But the boom times are over: China's economy is slowing and cracks in the system are starting to appear. With the Chinese economy faltering, building has ground to a halt, leaving ghost towns and abandoned construction sites across the country.

Some economists say that the country's building boom never delivered real prosperity, and that government spending has been poorly managed.

They warn that with China's debt mounting at an alarming pace, the country's economy could collapse.

In 2005, China owed 164 percent of its gross domestic product, but today it has almost doubled. The mountain of debt is piling up much faster than the economy is growing.

Despite the looming debt crisis, the government continues to encourage citizens to take on even more debt, buy more property and clear the over supply. Buying property in China used to be one of the safest investments, but the bubble has burst in many cities - leaving many Chinese with debt they cannot pay back.

For years officials promised that everyone would share in economic prosperity, but as the markets slow and debts rise, millions of ordinary workers are hurting. China's government says it will let go of five to six million workers from its factories and mines. Many of the workers are struggling to survive and feel left out of China's success.

For more, watch the 101 East documentary The End of China Inc?

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