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Local Government Debts Lack Transparency

China Economic Weekly, which is under the State’s People’s Daily, published an article on the fiscal transparency of China’s municipal governments titled, “Where Do Municipal Governments Spend Their Money?” 

According to the article, the Tsinghua Economic, Financial, and Governance Research Center released its “2014 Chinese Municipal Government Research Report on Fiscal Transparency.” The report rated the 2014 fiscal transparency of 289 cities. 
Across-the-board, these cities received low ratings on the release of their government debt statistics. Of the 289 cities, only 14, or 4.84 percent of the total cities, released relevant statistics on their government’ debts. The report noted that two reasons contributed to the low ratings. First, the vast majority of government debts are handled by local governments’ investment and financing platform companies. Local governments do not include these companies’ financials in the operating statement on the State’s capital, nor do they disclose the financials of local State-owned enterprises. Second, a large number of cities have a huge number of outstanding government debts. Consequently, they are not willing to disclose the relevant information. 
Source: People’s Daily, July 1, 2014