economics

China Names and Shames Cities in Fake Data Crackdown

China Names and Shames Cities in Fake Data Crackdown

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China’s top statistics agency says it is getting serious about authenticity of the data available on the $12 trillion economy.

The nation will start a supervision campaign on statistical work this year for the first time, to punish illegal practices and improve data quality, Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday, citing head of National Bureau of Statistics Ning Jizhe. That’s after the agency started an "exposure platform" web page in September to name and shame local authorities who falsify their data.

Read More: China’s Statistics Chief Defends Data Quality as Doubts Linger

Earlier this week, the agency published a list of 14 areas in seven cities which were found to have been massaging their data by early 2018, including the Binhai area in Tianjin. Last January the authorities there had to revise down 2016 output by about a third.

Local governments should have responded to requests punishing officials responsible within six months, according to national statistical rules, but they hadn’t written back by end of the year, the NBS said in the statement on the "exposure platform."

Still, China watchers are not convinced of the accuracy of the agency’s data, with the year-on-year growth rates of gauges such as industrial profits diverging significantly from the nominal values. The government’s handling of statistical data also raised eyebrows last month after the closely-watched purchasing managers’ index for Guangdong -- China’s factory heartland -- was suspended because of missing paperwork.

— With assistance by Xiaoqing Pi