China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday announced it had uncovered a serious case involving the faking of economic data by a county government in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
According to the NBS's publicized report, the government of Luliang had coerced local companies to report inflated industrial output value, resulting in artificially high economic figures.
Twenty-eight sampled local companies reported a total of 6.34 billion yuan (1.03 billion U.S. dollars) in industrial output value in 2012; however, the actual value was only 2.82 billion yuan, based on initial calculation, according to the report.
Similarly, 25 sampled local companies reported 2.74 billion yuan of industrial output value in the first half of 2013, but the NBS initially verified the actual value to be only 1.06 billion yuan.
Meanwhile, the county was also found to have faked investment data.
Companies complained that if they did not fraudulently report higher data, their reports would be returned by local government departments. They also said that fake reports would ensure they would enjoy favorable policies such as securing bank loans.
The NBS said that the misconduct has seriously affected the authenticity and independence of company data.
The NBS did not specify the reasons behind the county's faking of data but it is a well-known fact that local government leaders are assessed for their performances based on economic data. Nice-looking data sheets mean promotion opportunities.
In February 2012, the NBS launched a unified data collection system through which companies can send their data directly to the government's statistics center or authorized provincial branches, in an effort to ensure the authenticity of official economic data and dispel discrepancies in this field.
The scheme covers a total of 700,000 major enterprises, which contribute about 80 percent of the country's GDP. However, many other small and medium-sized companies as well as individual businesses are not included.