Keep an Eye on the Moneybag: Asian Games Left Guangzhou in Huge Debt?

Guangzhou Asian Games 2010

Doubts have been raised about Guangzhou’s massive spending in the Asian Games held last November and December. In sharp contrast to the budget that local government proposed, Zhong Nanshan, a deputy with the Guangzhou People’s Congress, claimed that the sporting extravaganza had left the city with a debt of 210 billion yuan (USD 32 billion), according to Global Times. Many deputies, netizens and media joined Zhong, challenging the government spending and demanding a complete supervision system. Unclear government spending is no longer a new thing in China, but with more and more people starting to keep on eye on the “moneybag,” I really start to expect such a supervision system to push China’s democracy one step forward.Government spending in the grand 2008 Summer Olympic Games had raised great doubt at that time. People inveighed the extravagance in that the government was showing off in front of foreign countries at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Chinese people’s lives. People demanded the government to focus on practically improving people’s life other than building image projects.

Under such pressure, the Guangzhou government announced a figure of two billion yuan (USD 0.3 billion) for the Asian Games budget, which won the hearts of many proponents for the games. In the face of Zhong’s challenging, Zhang Jieming, director of Guangzhou finance bureau, said the income and expenditure for the Asian games basically balances, according to China.org.cn.  The expenditure directly used for the games was 13.6 billion yuan, with more than 100 billion yuan also invested in improving urban infrastructure during the past five years, Zhang said.

So far, finance authorities in this southern city have promised to unveil an official breakdown of the spending on the Asian Games “at an appropriate time.” Before that, many people still believed what Zhong, who has been highly respected as leading respiratory scientist amid China’s fight against he SARS epidemic in 2003. The fact agitated the public that the local government utilized the money without informing the public and after four months, people still know nothing about the spending. The only good thing might be that people seriously started to demand a supervision system to avoid such massive spending.

About Yang Lu

Currently a grad student majoring in Public Relations at Annenberg School of University of Southern Califrornia. During 4-year undergraduate studies, Yang Lu did a double major in both English and International Journalism&Communication and a minor of Japanese in Beijing Foreign Studies University in China's Capital Beijing.
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