I'm looking for a comparison (i.e. two pie charts) of the public debt structure in the US vs. China. I can easily find data on the [hidden] municipal debt problem in China (as it's been repeatedly in the news lately), but this data typically doesn't seem to include any provincial-level debt. The latter might be negligible in comparison, but I'm not sure. (In particular, it's also been in the news that they've devised a method to shift local debt to provincial.) FWTW, it seems I managed to find their provincial debt and its around $5 trillion, compared to $9 trillion or so for local, so not quite negligible in comparison. But the somewhat disparate source I managed to pull this from make me a bit uneasy. Conversely, most US sources add together local and state government debts. So, I'm looking for a more apples-to-apples comparison of the public debt structure in the US vs China. (There's a decent OECD comparison of subnational government debts on their site but since China is not in OECD ("CHE" is Switzerland in that chart) is alas not included therein.)
I'm not entirely sure of the methodology/soundness of this, but according to one Chinese economist:
The leverage ratio of the Chinese government is currently around 100%, which is significantly lower than the figure of 145% for the United States, 260% for Japan, as well as lower than the figures for Italy, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.
However, China’s local government debt (including hidden local debt) accounts for as much as 74% of GDP, which is likely the highest in the world. This compares to 28.8% in the United States, 36.6% in Japan, 20.9% in Germany, and 9.4% in France.
“Comparing the leverage ratio of the central government of other major economies, China is almost the lowest, while the leverage ratio of its local governments is the highest,” Li wrote.
There's probably not much reason to doubt his basic data, but one has to treat that source with some skepticism for it also calls for the central government to bail out the local ones (and thus has some reason to exaggerate how unique the hardships/position of the Chinese local governments is. And now that I checked on him some more, it turns out he had one report removed from the internet for overstating the unemployment rate in China, but this article is still up, so perhaps less wrong.)