In China, local government officials will no longer be able to get away with bad decisions on debt management even after their terms of office end, Xi Jinping announced at the National Financial Work Conference on Saturday. Officials who are found ignoring the risks of building up debt while pursuing economic growth will be pursued even after their terms end. The “for life” element of accountability for public officials who recklessly borrow is unheard-of in China. Market watchers believe such a zero-tolerance stance highlights the seriousness of the local-debt problem that faces the world’s second-largest economy. Debt management and economic-growth creation are always the competing priorities for local governments. Several government officials and experts told Caixin that although the performance of local governments is now based less on gross domestic product and more on prudent debt management, municipalities and cities still have a lot of incentives to compete with each other on growth, as rapid urbanization is still underway.