A week of news the West missed from the world’s most populous country.
BY BETHANY ALLEN-EBRAHIMIAN , RACHEL LU NOVEMBER 14, 2014
Every day, FP’s China team at the Tea Leaf Nation channel scours dozens of Chinese media outlets to find compelling stories unreported in Western mainstream press. This week, we bring you local government bankruptcy, China’s tiger parents, a legal first for Chinese women, and more.
A draft from China’s Ministry of Finance proposes that local governments be allowed to go bankrupt.
Local government debt is a massive and rising problem in China, and the central government may be considering new steps to rein in local debt, according to a Nov. 13 article by independent newspaper 21st Century Economic Report. The new proposal from the Ministry of Finance, if it becomes official policy, would allow local governments to announce bankruptcy and follow bankruptcy procedures. Under pressure to show continuing economic growth in a gradually slowing economy, local governments have borrowed huge sums to fund construction and infrastructure projects, leading to growing financial risk. Previously, in early October, the central government had announced that it would cap local government debt in an effort to stymie burgeoning debt, as well as declaring that there would be no bailouts for debt-ridden local governments — though it stopped short of allowing bankruptcy.
Well-known journalist Luo Changping announces he’s quitting journalism to become an entrepreneur.
Luo made a name for himself by exposing the corruption of top government official Liu Tienan, who was later fired and is currently standing trial. But press freedom in China has deteriorated since President Xi Jinping came to power in March 2013, making investigative journalism even riskier. Luo Changping’s own social media accounts have also been subject to particular scrutiny, though his accounts have not been shut down, as has been the fate of other independent political commentators in China. Entrepreneurship may provide a much more lucrative, and less risky, future for the 34-year-old Luo.