You might remember that earlier this year the government of Liaoning province was forced to come clean about falsifying economic data, well it turns out that the problem was not merely limited to a single province. Quite the shock, we know.
China’s top corruption watchdog organization announced on Monday that parts of both Jilin and Inner Mongolia have also been faking economic data; however, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) failed to provide any other details about the charges. Both Inner Mongolia, known for its coal, and Jilin, for its rice and minerals, beat the national GDP growth average of 6.7% last year.
The Financial Times notes that the CCDI attributed the malfeasance of some local cadres to their failure to fully embrace the “four consciousnesses” prescribed by “core” leader Xi Jinping as China tries its best to get its books in order, fighting back against a well-established tradition among local Chinese officials of over-reporting economic growth and under-reporting unemployment numbers.
For years, experts have looked at China’s economic statistics with a healthy dose of skepticism. The country’s GDP data tends to raise eyebrows the highest. In the third quarter of 2016, China’s GDP grew by 6.7%, the exact same percentage that it had in the previous two quarters as well.
Finally, in January of this year, skeptical economists got some official confirmation. Liaoning Governor Chen Qiufa admitted that from 2011 to 2014 the province’s GDP figures were artificially inflated, marking the first time that the Chinese government has admitted to falsifying economic data at any level. An investigation discovered that the province’s revenues were inflated by at least 20% over that period of time. By 2016, Liaoning was the only province to fall into a recession in 2016 — after it had reportedly stopped falsifying data.
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