China to revise statistics law to fight data fraud

By Thomson Reuters Apr 23, 2024 | 12:19 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will revise its statistics law in a bid to fight persistent data fraud, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday, amid scepticism about the reliability of data in the world’s second-largest economy.

The draft of the amended law, which will help strengthen statistical supervision and help authorities pin down legal responsibility, has been submitted to the standing committee of the National People’s Congress for discussions, the agency said.

“In recent years, statistical work has been faced with problems such as repeated prohibitions on fraud, imperfect supervision system, and low cost of violations,” it added.

Analysts have long been sceptical of the reliability of Chinese data, especially as the government has sought to defuse market concerns about a protracted economic slowdown.

The government has repeatedly vowed to investigate and punish officials for forging economic data or interfering in statistical work to help improve the quality of the data.

China’s latest move aims to uphold the ruling Communist Party’s leadership of statistical work and build a “complete” statistical supervision system, the agency said.

Authorities will step up fines for illegal behaviour by firms and public institutions that refuse to, or delay, reporting data, with such violations reflected in their credit records, it added.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao)