China Struggles to Publish Accurate Economic Data

The government moves to shed its reliance on local officials
A worker controls the production line of textile at Babei Group in Shengzhou, Zhejiang province, China Photograph by Feng Li/Getty Images

The figures that go into China’s gross domestic product are “man-made” and “for reference only,” warned Chinese politician Li Keqiang back in 2007. The comments by the then-regional party head, who is expected to become premier next spring, were revealed in a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks in late 2010. Li’s remarks are especially relevant now as Chinese officials are expected to announce on July 13 that GDP grew by less than 8 percent in the second quarter, a three-year low.

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