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The opening last year of the world’s largest artificial resort island, developed by China Evergrande Group for nearly $13 billion, was the realization of the ambitions of founder Hui Ka Yan, who sketched a design for the project himself.

Now, Evergrande is in default to global bondholders, the former Communist Party secretary of the small Hainan island city where Ocean Flower Island was built is serving a life sentence for bribery and officials in Danzhou city have ordered 39 of the project’s towers — roughly 3,900 of the island’s 65,000 homes — to be demolished over environmental and construction violations.

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