曾經發表文章《時下中國十大迷思》(10 China Myths for the New Decade)的美國傳統基金會研究員史劍道(Derek Scissors)博士，過去曾經說過﹕中國經濟快速增長的原因無他，就是數據造假，但卻誤導眾人。
採訪/常春 編輯/張天宇 後製/李智遠
Local Authorities Falsification of Economic Data Exposed
China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)
has released a statement on its official website.
It says that the local Chinese Communist Party
(CCP) authorities of a town in Guangdong province
have falsified local industrial output figures.
The fraudulent figure put forward was
four times the actual amount of output.
Some industry insiders have asked if local authorities』
economic data falsification has existed for very long.
The CCP central authorities are supposed to
have been aware of it early.
Why have they condoned the fraudulent practice
over years and, only now begun to expose it?
On June 14, the latest NBS bulletin reported on the
falsification of economic data by local authorities
of Henglan, a town in Zhongshan city.
Among a sample of 73 local “large” enterprises,
38 are actually very small firms.
Another 19 had either stopped production,
moved away, or had ceased to exist.
Also, 71 enterprises were found with an actual
industrial output of 2.2 billion yuan,
this figure, however, suddenly increased and
was recorded as 8.5 billion yuan by local authorities.
The official statement said that Henglan’s leaders had
been aware of the falsehood as early as in May 2012.
However, they simply sat back and did nothing about it.
Media have reported that this exposes a chronic habit
among China’s official communities, that has been impossible to stamp out.
The habit is, “Figures determine officials’ positions,
and officials habitually invent figures.”
Foreign media have reviewed that no one knows
how commonplace data fabrication is across China.
But what is certain is that the problem may have
existed for many years.
(Prof. Univ. of South Carolina-Aiken) Xie Tian:
“Overseas independent media have given ample
coverage of data fraud by CCP authorities.
It actually peaked during the tenure of Jiang Zemin,
and continued to exist in the era of Hu Jintao.”
Some financial experts say that it is impossible that
the CCP central has known nothing about
rampant economic data fraud at local levels.
Yet local fiscal revenue has still been used
as a primary indicator in official promotion.
The experts think that this has fuelled
the fraudulent practice in China.
Some local regions’fiscal revenues have been
whilst the CCP central still turns a blind eye to it.
Until now, local statistical fraud has created a hugely
negative impact on China’s economy.
But it is too late to remedy, according to comments,
as the CCP regime has lost all credibility.
Xie Tian: “China’s authorities are now
changing all of a sudden.
They have begun to expose local authorities’
falsification of economic data.
I speculate that this is because the new CCP leaders
don’t want to continue to bear guilt for falsified statistics.
Even Premier Li Keqiang once admitted to America
that he himself doesn’t trust official data.
We cannot be entirely sure of the real intention
behind this official exposure.
It may be either to pass the blame for
falsification on their predecessors,
or it may simply be to expose the truth.
But at least it seems to be a trend.”
In March 2012, the NBS started a campaign
to combat the manipulation of statistics.
It has exposed data falsification by the four local
authorities of Chongqing, Shanxi, Gansu and Fujian.
Consequently, the maximum punishment imposed
on implicated officials, has been administrative sanction.
Media have commented that continuing local statistical
fraud has much to do with a weak accountability system.
Dr. Derek Scissors is a senior research fellow
at the Heritage Foundation.
In an article, he said, “There are lies and damned lies;
then there’s China’s GDP data!”
“Exaggerating Chinese prowess and emphasizing
the wrong issues leads to general mistakes…”
Xie Tian: “Anyhow, the truth will eventually out,
which is an unavoidable end to the story.
And I believe that the economic truth is likely to
spill more truths that remain covered-up in China,
such as the truth about society itself and about
the CCP’s persecution of scapegoat groups.
The sign may have just made an appearance
in the economic situation first.”
The Wall Street Journal has commented that
“It’s typically advisable not to accept Chinese
economic data at face value.
Figures on everything from inflation and industrial
output to energy consumption and international trade
often don’t seem to gel with observation and
sometimes they struggle to stack up and tally
when compared with other indicators.”
Also, the article warns that “artificially inflated figures
always further complicate efforts by companies
and governments everywhere to gauge
what that slowdown means for them.”