Built it and they didn't come.

That could be the motto for China's infamous "ghost cities" — vast housing complexes that were frantically erected over the past decade but remain largely uninhabited.

For years, the real estate market in China has been booming. Chinese laws allow city governments to cheaply grab nearby rural areas for development, and that's fueled the frenzy to build, build, build. Over the past 20 years, the country's urban areas have quintupled.

Maj. Gen. Edward Dorman III says training for Chinese soldiers in Washington state can "build trust between the two countries. I think we reduce the potential for misunderstanding."
Courtesy of U.S. Army

Chinese soldiers have landed in Washington – but don’t be alarmed.

Eighty members of the People’s Liberation Army are in the state this week learning about disaster response. They’re working alongside troops from Joint Base Lewis McChord as well as personnel from the National Guard and state and federal agencies.

After more than 35 years, China has rescinded its law banning many families from having more than one child; all of them will now be allowed to have two. The shift comes as China faces low fertility rates and an aging trend in its population.

"China will allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy, according to a communique issued Thursday by the Communist Party of China," the state-run Xinhua news agency reports.

When you drive the new expressway to the airport in the Chinese city of Luliang, you are as likely to come across a stray dog as another vehicle. When I recently drove it, a farmer was riding in a three-wheel flatbed truck and heading in the wrong direction. But it didn't matter. There was no oncoming traffic.

This Adoptee Went Back To China But Couldn't Connect

Oct 7, 2015
Lydia Nasser in China: “This was just me standing alone, Lydia and China.”
Courtesy of Lydia Nasser

Lydia Nasser celebrated her 19th birthday on July 17, but she doesn’t actually know when she was born.

“I could’ve been born anywhere between the 15th and like the 20th," Nasser explained. “Sometimes it’s funny thinking about that. It never affects me in a bad way, it’s just a question mark in my life.”

Nasser doesn’t know her birth date because when she was 2, her parents adopted her from China and brought her back to Washington state, where she has lived ever since.

Shell Oil's Polar Pioneer left the Port of Seattle for Alaska on the morning of June 15, 2015.
KUOW Photo/Brian Gregory

Ross Reynolds speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about how Shell Oil's decision to stop off-shore arctic oil drilling might affect Western Washington. Also, they talk about how Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Seattle area could affect the economy long-term.

An injured person is taken from the scene of the Aurora Bridge bus crash on Thursday.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Is the Aurora Bridge too narrow for six fast-moving lanes? Tim Eyman is in trouble again, and unrepentantly so. What did China’s president bring to Seattle besides traffic? Will Seattle’s tallest landmark be eclipsed by a long shot? And what if the Seahawks never win again?

Bill Radke discusses the week’s news with Knute Berger, Joni Balter and Bill Finkbeiner, plus KUOW reporter Carolyn Adolph, Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins, Puget Sound Business Journal’s Emily Parkhurst  and Mike Pesca of Slate’s The Gist podcast.

Software giant Microsoft had several chances Wednesday to impress Chinese leaders with the company's vision of a "free and open" Internet.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, at a banquet in Seattle.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

David Hyde speaks with David Bachman, a professor of international studies at the University of Washington, about why Seattle was Chinese President Xi Jinping's first stop on this trip to the U.S.

Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Flickr Photo/Ryan Raffa (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Ross Reynolds talks to Emily Parkhurst, an editor for the Puget Sound Business Journal, about the University of Washington's new deal with Tsinghua University in Beijing to study clean energy technology.

Demonstrator Alice Tsai takes a photo of the police blocking her group from accessing the Westin Hotel, where Chinese President Xi Jinping is staying.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Protesters have been trying to get so close to Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle that he can hear their chants. But they’re having a hard time.

People form a greeting line as Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife step out of a Boeing 747 at Everett's Paine Field.
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

The tech and business leaders meeting with President Xi Jinping in Seattle this week know a lot about doing business in China — the risks as well as the opportunities.

Solar company REC Silicon Tuesday warned of big layoffs at a factory in central Washington if a trade dispute between the U.S. and China drags on much longer.

Sunlight Toy Factory, Tangxia, China taken in 2010.
Flickr Photo/Chris (CC BY NC)/

David Hyde speaks with University of Washington philosophy professor Michael Blake about the moral responsibilities of business leaders who meet with China's President Xi Jinping during his visit to Seattle.

Flag of Tibet.
Flickr Photo/Ed Uthman (CC BY SA)/

Jeannie Yandel sits down with Jampa Jorkhang, incoming president of the Tibetan Association of Washington, to discuss why the Tibetan community is protesting Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit.