‘Asian Games left Guangzhou in huge debt’

Updated: Feb 25, 2011, 16:03 PM IST

Beijing: A controversy has broken out
over China`s massive spending on last year`s Asian Games in
Guangzhou city after a local legislator claimed the sporting
extravaganza had left the city with a debt of USD 32 billion.

While the Chinese authorities are yet to provide
breakdown of the money spent on the Games, Zhong Nanshan, a
deputy with the Guangzhou People`s Congress said there was a
big financial gap after the local authorities invested what he
claimed was 257.7 billion yuan (USD 38.4 billion) on the the
sporting spectacle.

Zhong said that after the Games the city is left with
a 210 billion yuan (USD 32 billion) debt, which also included
the previous outstanding loans.

"How will the city government find the money to
improve people`s living standards with such heavy debts to pay
in the years ahead?" Zhong was quoted as saying

However, Zhang Jieming, director of Guangzhou finance
bureau claimed that the income and expenditure for the Asian
Games had balanced.

"I don`t know what sources Zhong Nanshan cited. You
reporters should ask him how he got his figure," Zhang told
the official media.

The expenditure directly used for the games was 13.6
billion yuan, (USD two billion) with more than 100 billion
yuan (USD 15 billion) also invested in improving urban
infrastructure during the past five years, Zhang said.

"I haven`t exchanged views on the games budget with
Zhong. So far, there has not been a complete financial report.
This is normal. There are several figures related to the games
budget and we will unveil the official financial accounts at
the proper time," Zhang said.

Many other deputies at the local People`s Congress
have joined Zhong in calling on the government to unveil its
official report on the cost of the games.

"Guangzhou`s budget income was less than 100 billion
yuan last year. Where does this huge investment in the games
come from? The government should give the public an
explanation," Zheng Jingping, a deputy with the Guangdong
Provincial People`s Congress was quoted as saying.

Prior to the games` opening, Guangzhou Mayor Wan
Qingliang said the investment in the games had been kept
within the budget and amounted to about 120 billion yuan, (USD
18 billion).

Guangzhou, one of China`s highly industrialised
cities, hosted the 16th Asian Games and the Asian Para Games
in November and December last year.