Fabricating data to be severely punished

A new rule aimed at improving the authenticity and reliability of China’s official data came into effect yesterday.

A NEW rule aimed at improving the authenticity and reliability of China’s official data came into effect yesterday.

The regulation on the implementation of the revised Law of Statistics, released in June under a decree signed by Premier Li Keqiang, calls for standardization of statistical surveys from the source, and lists specifications on how to organize and carry out surveys.

The regulation stipulates measures to improve the efficiency and quality of statistical work and to reduce the burden on those undertaking the surveys.

Officials and staff who intervene in government statistical work and manipulate or fabricate data will be severely punished, according to the regulation.

Liu Qingjun, an official in charge of implementation of policies and laws with the statistical bureau in east China’s Shandong Province, said the province is working on a local regulation based on the national regulation.

There have been cases, Liu said, where government or institutional staff intended to exert influence on organizations or institutions undertaking statistical surveys via phone calls or messages. There were also some cases in which government authorities would ask to examine and approve statistics before they were released.

In January, the government of northeast China’s Liaoning Province admitted in its annual work report that there had been false statistics in economic data from the province’s cities and counties from 2011 to 2014.

Days after the revelation, Ning Jizhe, head of the National Bureau of Statistics, defended the accuracy of national data, saying the bureau had adopted measures to ensure the authenticity and reliability of statistics.

In April, China set up a special law enforcement unit under the national bureau to prevent, investigate and punish data fabrication.

In May, a similar organization was founded in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Shandong Province is preparing to establish a provincial law enforcement unit to prevent data fabrication, while such organizations have already been founded in some cities in the province, Liu said.

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