China claims ‘biggest corruption in statistical sphere’ amid fake data crackdown

by Mandy Zuo at

China has sent one of its strongest warnings against falsifying data, calling the practice “the biggest corruption in the statistical sphere” after it became a violation of Communist Party discipline.

Data fabrication was written into a revision of the party’s disciplinary regulations last month, which “greatly strengthened” the constraints to prevent and curb statistical fraud, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

Severely harmful fraudulent statistics “interfere with and mislead macro decision-making” and “damage the credibility of the party and government”, the bureau added.

People involved in faking data, or those who neglect their supervisory duties, would receive punishments ranging from a warning to expulsion from the party, according to last month’s amendment.
The warning on Monday came amid market scepticism over China’s upbeat 5.2 per cent year-on-year growth in 2023.

China’s economic recovery momentum seemed to have slowed again in the fourth quarter compared with the previous three months, while local governments are under pressure to seek a strong start this year.

Beijing is still facing a daunting task to ensure a sustained and robust economic growth this year by resolving a property market crisis, finding new robust growth engines and alleviating job pressure.

All eyes will be on the growth target that Premier Li Qiang is set to unveil on March 5 when delivering the government work report to the National People’s Congress, and how Beijing is going to achieve it via multiple policies.

It is widely anticipated that Beijing is likely to set a target of 5 per cent economic growth for 2024.

The accuracy of China’s economic data has long been questioned, as many feel there is a gap between reality on the ground and the official figures, and Beijing has intensified efforts to crack down on data fraud in recent years amid efforts to dispel doubts.