This is the modus operandi:
Local officials have a very simple way to boost the economy – land development. For decades since China opened up, it has been the low-hanging fruit that was almost guaranteed to make money. Then, they milked the surefire formula to death. Greed took over and all hell broke loose.
Local officials colluded with developers and contractors to build shopping malls and luxury residences without proper planning and market evaluation. They just built and they built and they built. Government controlled banks are directed to give the developers massive practically unsecured loans. Buyers of the properties are likewise granted mortgages regardless of creditworthiness. Debts rolled into profits. Profits rolled into debts. Many were laughing their way to the secretly insolvent banks.
Some crooked developers even set up different companies to sell the same uncompleted property twice with the full knowledge of conniving local authorities. Thus, the illusion of massive wealth and Once the money is collected, the developers and local officials (who have children studying in the US) flee. Actually, the US bill blocking CCP members from buying property in the US will indirectly help fight corruption.