Vice (2013– )
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China's Ghost Towns/Egypt on the Brink 

Fifteen years ago, China changed its policy so people could buy their own homes. Real-estate investments boomed, and new cities began popping up. The problem is: people don't live in what ... See full summary »


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Episode credited cast:
Suroosh Alvi Suroosh Alvi ... Himself - Host
Ryan Duffy Ryan Duffy ... Himself - Host
Shane Smith ... Himself - Host


Fifteen years ago, China changed its policy so people could buy their own homes. Real-estate investments boomed, and new cities began popping up. The problem is: people don't live in what have become 'ghost cities.' Over two years ago, Arab Spring climaxed in the overthrow of President Mubarak in Egypt. But for many Egyptians, the situation has actually gotten worse. Written by HBO

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Release Date:

10 May 2013 (USA) See more »

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Vice Media See more »
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Vice Goes HBO! ...Episode Title: Corruption
21 May 2013 | by meddlecoreSee all my reviews

Episode 6 of Vice's new HBO series is actually titled "Corruption". IMDb has the wrong episode title listed- they list the doc subtitle instead of the episode title.

In CHINA'S GHOST TOWN Ryan Duffy heads over to the red state to take a look at the construction boom that isn't really attracting the population that was expected. After heading to China's empty replica Paris, he discusses how China manipulates it's overall GDP by looking at construction as opposed to actual sales- yet remains central to it's "growth". There are over 64 million empty homes in over 11 empty ghost towns with an overall occupancy rate of 2%. They are basing this activity off the philosophy of "build now, rent later". In a political scheme to encourage GDP growth, massive buildings and cities are being erected on farmland with no one coming to live in them. Duffy wanders through some of these eerily post apocalyptic cities and buildings without any human encounters. Then he meets with the guy whose job it is to sell these places. He claims he has rented 40 units in the entire city. The truth comes out, as it revealed how land is being seized from local farmers who become displaced without reparations to make room for these ghost towns which are being put up by corrupt developers in kahootz with politicians. Duffy speaks to some of these displaced farmers, who question the value of this "economic boom"- "it turned farmers into beggars", one woman states. Hedge fund manager James Chanos claims that at the peak of the bubble construction was at 16% of GDP in the US, while in China construction is currently making up 50% of their GDP- a formula that's bound to come back and bite them sooner or later. The bad thing, they note, is that the economy of China and the US are so integrated, that one's downfall is likely to bring the other down with it.. (segment approx. 12 mins)

In Egypt ON THE BRINK Suroosh Alvi checks out the action of the Arab Spring, Egyptian style. It opens with a riot. Alvi is going to probe the anti-Morsi- the new President who granted himself sweeping powers shortly after being elected- sentiment that has been sweeping the streets of the nation- where they call him "Egypt's New Pharoah". A banned writer talks about how he dictatorially appoints and can hire and fire anyone he wants, while being controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, acting in their interest alone. Tourism has crashed, unemployment has skyrocketed, and they are now facing both a financial and socio-political crisis across the country. ;; The protesters are given a chance to tell their side of the story- and they talk about how Morsi uses the police to violently suppress protests that continue on in opposition to the new regime, which are using the same tactics as the old- if not worse. Suroosh meets with one of the most radical groups in the Egyptian Uprising movement- the anarchist Black Bloc. Based off the western protest tactic of the same name, the group is causing ruckus in opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, who they believe hypocritically "stole the revolution" . Though they are partially out for vengeance- for their slain friend Gaber Saleh, killed at 16. We are shown the Black Bloc's "lab" (empty room) where they make molotov cocktails. Finally we head with Suroosh to the protest marking the 2nd anniversary of Mubarek stepping down- with the protesters calling for Morsi to step down as they trash and attempt to raid the Presidential Palace. (segment approx. 13 mins)

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