Cen­tral au­thor­i­ties to count cost of ex­ag­ger­ated lo­cal per­for­mance

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - IN­STEAD OF THE LO­CAL GOV­ERN­MENTS,

GDP fig­ures. Bei­jing News com­ments:

The sum of all the pro­vin­cial GDP fig­ures has been markedly higher than the na­tional GDP since 1996. Last year, the gap was nearly 2.8 tril­lion yuan ($413 bil­lion).

Be­fore Wang Baoan, the former head of the Na­tional Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics, was sacked for cor­rup­tion in Jan­uary 2016, the bu­reau at­trib­uted the gap to tech­ni­cal rea­sons.

But it is an open se­cret that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments are used to ex­ag­ger­at­ing lo­cal eco­nomic per­for­mance, as it is one of the most im­por­tant cri­te­ria for as­sess­ing the per­for­mance of lo­cal of­fi­cials.

After Wang Min, the former Party chief of Liaon­ing prov­ince, was in­ves­ti­gated for power abuse and graft, the Liaon­ing pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment in North­east China ad­mit­ted ear­lier this year that it fal­si­fied the prov­ince’s fi­nan­cial sta­tis­tics from 2011 to 2014.

For a long time, lo­cal of­fi­cials have had more op­por- the cen­tral au­thor­i­ties will now pro­duce the pro­vin­cial

tu­ni­ties for pro­mo­tion by mag­ni­fy­ing their eco­nomic data.

And in 2013, Ma Jiantang, the former head of Na­tional Bu­reau of Sta­tis­tics prior to Wang, pointed out some lo­cal gov­ern­ments in­ter­vened in the re­ports en­ter­prises sub­mit­ted to the bu­reau, ei­ther by fab­ri­cat­ing the en­ter­prises’ data them­selves, pres­sur­ing the en­ter­prises to re­port false fig­ures, or re­plac­ing the en­ter­prises’ re­ports with ones they pro­duced them­selves.

Since the GDP fig­ures are of such im­por­tance, in­flu­enc­ing not only the mak­ing of na­tional macroe­co­nomic poli­cies but also the qual­ity of lo­cal gov­er­nance, it is a pos­i­tive and wel­come move that not only will the cen­tral gov­ern­ment check the re­ports and cal­cu­late the GDP of the prov­inces di­rectly, but it will also in­crease the sever­ity of the pun­ish­ments meted out to those who fal­sify the fig­ures.

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