Opinion / Opinion Line

Fabricating statistics is a crime, perpetrators should be punished

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-16 09:14

The authorities have recently published some instances of officials fabricating GDP statistics in a bid to get a promotion. For example, the GDP of Hengshan county, Hunan province, was reported to be 4.4 billion yuan ($718 million) in 2013; the true figure was 580 million yuan. Comments:

At present, data can be fabricated by low-level officials as the higher level statistics bureaus don't check the data reported by lower ones unless any obvious errors appear. It would be better if the higher authorities randomly select counties and check whether the figures they report are real.

Lin Deyong, an official at the Statistics Bureau of Hunan Province, Feb 15

One local Party chief was said to have forced factories in his county to report three times their annual production. While such actions help officials gain promotions, they mean heavier tax for the companies concerned, which in turn is a burden passed to consumers. This is corruption; the disciplinary watchdogs need to intervene.

Beijing Times, Feb 15

Obviously, officials that force others to fabricate data should be held accountable. However, the penalties that leading officials in Hengshan county received were rather light. The head of the county only received a "preventative talk", while his subordinate received a notice of misbehavior on his record. Only the statisticians that directly fabricated the data were dismissed. For officials, the cost of breaking law is so low that they will naturally choose to break it.

Southern Metropolis Daily, Feb 15

The Statistics Law clearly states that leading officials responsible for fabricating data should be punished, while those breaking the law should be prosecuted. However, no official has been tried for this crime, even though some of their misdeeds have obviously broken the law. What an irony! Please send the suspected officials to court when they commit such crimes.

Beijing News, Feb 15

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