[The Epoch Times, February 1, 2022](The Epoch Times reporter Xu Jian compiled and reported) After the wave of debt investment in preparation for the Winter Olympics, the financial situation of Zhangjiakou Chongli County is now cold. Behind the CCP’s “grand event” is the collapse of real estate, business closures, and unemployment.
The Financial Times reported on January 31 that since Beijing launched its bid to host the Winter Olympics in Chongli in 2013, the county’s annual financial expenditure has more than tripled, reaching a peak of 3.6 billion yuan in 2019, mainly due to Invest in sports-related facilities. In contrast, fiscal revenue rose by less than two-thirds to 572 million yuan over the same period.
Chongli County, Zhangjiakou, one of the three major centers of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, is facing financial collapse. Li Jiang, director of Chongli’s finance bureau, said in a speech last November that the county was facing a “huge” shortage of funds for Olympic-related projects. The higher-level government has yet to refund Chongli’s payments for these activities, and “these issues need to be resolved immediately,” Li Jiang said.
In addition to overdrafting the Olympic Games, Chongli County, like other CCP local governments, has also suffered losses such as Beijing’s crackdown on the real estate industry’s credit, as well as the suspension of enterprises and the unemployment of workers caused by the so-called “clearing” policy.
Housing prices in Chongli once soared after Beijing’s bid for the Olympics, but the market quickly cooled after a series of policies to suppress housing purchases such as restrictions on non-locals. Beijing tightened control over lending in the real estate sector, another fatal blow to local real estate.
The average price of a completed home in Chongli has fallen by more than a third over the past four years, according to real estate website Anjuke. It has also impacted land sales revenue in the county, which is 22 percent short of the government’s target for 2020.
“The Olympics have hit us hard,” said Daniel Li, who runs a ski equipment store near Genting Snow Park, one of the Winter Olympics venues. The resort closed in May, he was unable to pay the 200,000 yuan annual rent for the ski equipment store, and left Chongli County this month to look for work.
“Because of policy, the ski season we depend on for a living ended prematurely and we have not been compensated for our losses,” he said.
The recession and pandemic restrictions have devastated employment in Chongli, with multiple ski resort executives saying revenue more than halved in 2020, although it returned to pre-pandemic levels last year, then again in 2022 shrink.
“There is no light in sight,” said an executive at a large ski resort in Chongli.
“It’s a general rule that the Olympics will have a negative impact on the host country’s economy,” said Dan Wang, chief economist at Hang Seng Bank (China). “This may be especially true for China, as (Beijing) places more emphasis on politics. impact, not financial impact.”
Zhangjiakou has one of the highest GDP-to-debt ratios in the country, jumping from 30% in 2018 to 48% in 2020, according to public records.
Responsible editor: Lin Yan#