China to adopt new rules to improve economic data quality

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is set to adopt new rules to prevent officials from falsifying statistics to help improve the quality of data, the cabinet said on Wednesday.

There has long been widespread global scepticism about the reliability of Chinese data, especially as the government has sought to reduce expectations of a protracted slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

The cabinet has approved draft rules on implementing the statistical law that will regulate statistical activities “from the source”, it said in a statement on the government’s website, after a regular meeting.

The rules would strengthen efforts to hold accountable people falsifying figures to “ensure the authenticity and authority of statistical data”, the cabinet said.

China will improve its statistical system and methods, including those on new industries, the cabinet said, without giving further details.

In January, the state-owned People’s Daily newspaper reported that the Liaoning government, in its annual work report, revealed it had misstated fiscal data from 2011 to 2014.

Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Robert Birsel