China Leadership Monitor

Local Debt Restructuring: A Case of Ongoing Authoritarian Reform

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Local debt restructuring is a key part of the ambitious fiscal reforms proposed by Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei. The initial program (Debt Swap 1.0) turned out to be too ambitious and could not be sustained in the face of increasing worries about economic slowdown. After a crucial Politburo meeting on April 30, 2015, a new program (Debt Swap 2.0) was instituted that included a much bigger bailout for local governments. This program experienced quick uptake in May and June. The case is a cautionary tale about what authoritarian reforms can achieve.

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Local Debt Restructuring: A Case of Ongoing Authoritarian Reform