Govt data to be investigated

09:25, June 04, 2010      

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Three government departments including the National Bureau of Statistics jointly rolled out a massive, nationwide investigation of statistical figures Tuesday.

The investigation mainly targets key figures including GDP, industrial production, and urban and suburban residents' income by examining the data collection processes, methods applied to the data and data quality.
Violations of rules on statistics found during the investigation will be dealt with toughly, preventing false statistics, an unnamed official in charge of the program told Wednesday.

The program started with self-checks this month. Random inspections will be launched in July and August, and rectification will be carried out in September.

The country has recently been stricter with violations of regulations on statistics.

As statistical figures released by different government departments and at different levels collide, more questions on the authenticity of statistical data are being voiced.

A new regulation on statistics, aimed at stamping out false data, came into effect May 1, 2009, mandating that violators including leading officials of local government departments, administrative institutions and individuals responsible for statistical work would receive major penalties if their actions had serious results.

An amended Statistics Law took effect January 1, consisting of seven chapters and 50 articles. For the first time, the law stipulated that any legal violation must be investigated.

"It is not easy to say what the effect of the new rules will be, given that they have been in place for only a short period of time," Ye Qing, deputy director of the Hubei Provincial Bureau of Statistics and a professor at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, told the Global Times Thursday.

"Unlike in the past few years, people have become more concerned about statistical data, which is partly due to some problems existing in the statistical system itself," Ye said.

Combined provincial GDP figures are always higher than the national GDP figure.

Ye said that is due to local officials hoping to advance their careers by posting more impressive growth figures.

There are some fundamental problems underlying current economic growth, such as increasing disparities between the rich and the poor, that make people suspect sta-tistical figures show exaggerated results, he said.

Source: Global Times


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