Fal­si­fy­ing of eco­nomic data by of­fi­cials only serves them­selves

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

to the provin­cial leg­is­la­ture, Chen Qi­ufa, gover­nor of North­east China’s Liaon­ing prov­ince, ad­mit­ted that of­fi­cials of ci­ties in his prov­ince fab­ri­cated eco­nomic data and ex­ag­ger­ated the GDP growth rate from 2011 to 2014. It is good for a gover­nor to ad­mit mis­takes, but will the of­fi­cials that fab­ri­cated the data pay for their mis­deeds? Bei­jing News com­ments:

These Liaon­ing of­fi­cials were rather “cre­ative” with the eco­nomic data. In Youyan county alone, of­fi­cials “added” 847 mil­lion yuan ($123.5 mil­lion) to their 2013 fi­nan­cial in­come, which is 127 per­cent higher than the true fig­ure that year. Many Liaon­ing ci­ties have re­port­edly com­mit­ted sim­i­lar deeds.

A cen­tral in­spec­tion team no­ticed what was go­ing on in 2014 and is­sued a warn­ing. Now, al­most three years later, the Liaon­ing gover­nor fi­nally ad­mit­ted the facts. Chen did not men­tion how to solve the prob­lem, but by ad­mit­ting it he has al­ready made a gi­ant step for­ward com­pared with the past.

Liaon­ing may not be alone in find­ing of­fi­cials fal­si­fy­ing data. A sur­vey shows that in 2012, the re­ported GDP of all the prov­inces and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties com­bined was higher than the na­tional GDP. Liaon­ing is one of the prov­inces that ex­ag­ger­ated its data.

By fab­ri­cat­ing the data, the Liaon­ing of­fi­cials have hurt the in­ter­ests of both lo­cal res­i­dents and the cen­tral gov­ern­ment. For the for­mer, false GDP growth data means they might be mis­taken as be­ing “rich” and lose the op­por­tu­nity of get­ting help from

the State; for the lat­ter, they have been pre­sented with a false pic­ture of the lo­cal eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion, which hin­ders ef­forts to op­ti­mize the coun­try’s eco­nomic struc­ture and ac­cel­er­ate re­form.

The cause of of­fi­cials fal­si­fy­ing eco­nomic data is sim­ple: Their per­for­mance eval­u­a­tions, even pro­mo­tions, de­pend on it. GDP growth data is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors that de­cide whether an of­fi­cial will be pro­moted.

There­fore, the root so­lu­tion to this prob­lem lies in re­form­ing the cur­rent per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion sys­tem of lo­cal of­fi­cials. For years, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has been eval­u­at­ing of­fi­cials’ per­for­mance in a more com­pre­hen­sive way, but the em­pha­sis must be their ef­forts to op­ti­mize the eco­nomic struc­ture.

More im­por­tant, the of­fi­cials that fab­ri­cated the eco­nomic data should get their de­served le­gal and dis­ci­plinary penal­ties, so that they and oth­ers do not dare to com­mit sim­i­lar mis­deeds in the fu­ture. It is good that the Liaon­ing gover­nor ad­mit­ted what hap­pened, now it is time to take ac­tion.

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