A senior Chinese auditor has warned that local government debt is "out of control" and could spark a bigger financial crisis than the U.S. housing market crash.
Zhang Ke said his accounting firm, ShineWing, had all but stopped signing off on bond sales by local governments as a result of his concerns.
"We audited some local government bond issues and found them very dangerous, so we pulled out," said Mr. Zhang, who is also vice-chairman of China's accounting association. "Most don't have strong debt servicing abilities. Things could become very serious."
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The International Monetary Fund, rating agencies and investment banks have all raised concerns about Chinese government debt. But it is rare for a figure as established in the Chinese financial industry as Mr. Zhang to issue such a stark warning.