Chinese official says economic data faked between 2011-14

Beijing, Jan 19 (IANS) The governor of the Chinese province of Liaoning has admitted local authorities manipulated economic data between 2011 and 2014, media reports said.

According to a report in the daily South China Morning Post on Wednesday, many cities and counties in Liaoning province reported widespread fraudulent economic figures, raising doubts about the reliability of Chinese statistics just two days before the country releases its 2016 GDP figures.

Analysts regularly question Chinese data, and even official media alleged inflated figures were used to project economic activity greater than the actual in Liaoning, one of the provinces whose economy began shrinking in 2015, Efe news reported.

The Communist Party chief in the province between 2009 and 2015, Wang Min, expelled from the party in October last year, is now under investigation for alleged graft.

Meanwhile Chen Qiufa, Liaoning governor since 2015, told the assembly the National Audit Office had shown tampering with fiscal revenue figures, among other indicators.

“The fake fiscal figures influenced the central government’s economic judgment and accordingly led to a lowering of the size of transfer payments to the province,” said Chen.

In China, government officials are promoted based on assessments that largely depend on the economic performance of their administration, which can nudge them into falsifying data.